The tussle between two major regional parties in J-K took an ugly turn on Saturday when Chief Minister Omar Abdullah sent a legal notice to two senior Peoples Democratic Party leaders and threatened defamation suit of Rs 10 crore for “false accusations” of kickback in a power project.
The J-K opposition party, PDP, on August 25 accused the chief minister of taking Rs 500 crore as kickback in allotment of a power project. “In the allotment of Rattle Power project, the Chief Minister is guilty of a huge kickback from the party to which it has been allotted,” alleged senior PDP leader Nizam-ud-Din Bhat at a press conference on August 25.
On Saturday, an official spokesman said the Chief Minister has sent a legal notice to PDP legislator Nizamuddin Bhat and its spokesman Naeem Akhtar Andrabi.
Abdullah has hired the services of Dr Abhishek Manu Singhvi, a senior advocate and former additional solicitor general of India, in the case.
“The defamation notice has been sent to Nizamuddin Bhat and Nayeem Akhtar Andrabi for leveling baseless, fabricated, concocted, frivolous, false and defamatory allegations against Omar Abdullah in a bid to defame him and damage his reputation,” said the government spokesman.
The notice, the spokesman said, calls upon the two leaders to publicly apologize and withdraw the allegations made against Abdullah within seven days.
“Otherwise a complaint under the Jammu and Kashmir Code of Criminal Procedure, 1933, as amended, and a defamation suit for recovering damages to the extent of 10 crores will be filed before an appropriate court,” said the spokesman.
“We have not received any legal notice yet. We will respond accordingly,” PDP leader Naeem Akhtar told the Hindustan Times.
The mainstream political parties are slugging it out at a time when Kashmiris are shaken by civil unrest stoked by separatists and the mainstream is fast losing ground.
The two parties started to wash their dirty linen in public on August 25 when the government issued an advertisement to local dailies with names of PDP legislators showing they were participating in government functioning and drawing extra money under dearness and travel allowances.
The advertisement was aimed at bring forth the hypocrisy of the PDP, which accuses the state government of being non-existent since the civil unrest started.
“The advertisement infers that the state government does not want our legislators to cooperate with the government and seems to suggest we should resign from the Assembly,” said Akhtar adding “no other legislator from other political parties were mentioned in the advertisement. This raises suspicion of the government’s sinister approach”.