Smart card scam: J-K finance minister faces vilification campaign | india | Hindustan Times
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Smart card scam: J-K finance minister faces vilification campaign

india Updated: Feb 23, 2012 20:49 IST
Peerzada Ashiq

Describing the anonymous complaint with the anti-corruption body, State Accountability Commission (SAC), part of 'vilification campaign' against him, Jammu and Kashmir finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather on Thursday refuted all the three allegations of corruption and claimed he has no role in allotment of Rs 2-crore smart card project to anyone or his son.

Reacting to the SAC notice seeking his response on outsourcing of Rs 28 lakh project to J&K Bank in preparing bio-metric attendance monitoring system through smart cards, Rather pleaded innocence during a press conference in Jammu.

"The project was sanctioned by the Information Technology ministry and given to J&K Bank for execution. The finance department has nothing to do with it. Though a query was raised in its procedure by the finance department but the lapse was later condoned by the cabinet," said Rather, adding "no paper was signed by me."

An unknown group of people filed a complaint through the Yuva Shakti Vikas Mission before the commission, which observed that the government's action in out-sourcing the project to the J&K Bank appears unjustified and asked the finance minister to file his response.

"I am filing my response to the commission and have faith in it. I hope it will do justice and take action against those while filed the false complaint as per the rules," said the finance minister.

The minister also denied any hand in two other corruption allegations, which include embezzlement of money through a treaty made for Rs 12 crore Computerised Personal Information System (CPIS) project and violation of formalities to do a mapping project as part of Rs 356 crore Dal lake conservation plan.

"Even the SAC inquiry has that the Lakes and Waterways Development Agency has not awarded any contract so far. The commission also found out that no contract process was involved for CPIS and it was assigned to the National Informatics Centre, a government of India undertaking," said Rather.

The minister tracked the fresh complaint as part of "vilification campaign" started in 2010 when Rather was accused of owning Rs 120-crore villa in Dubai. "I am not going to take arrows and not react. I will take it to logical conclusion and those are behind it should be hanged for maligning my image. We are on it to trace those behind the complaint on our level but the SAC help in acting," said Rather.

The minister declined any tussle within the party or coalition partner Congress. "These people will confront shame by raking up such false cases. I will not be browbeaten and made defense by such allegations," said Rather adding, "the House need to take notice and see if a clause can be included in the SAC Act to stop entertaining complaints from anonymous people."

This is second major SAC notice to the government functionaries. Earlier this month the SAC issued notice to Chief Minister Omar Abdullah questioning recruitment and portfolio of several officials.