Mehbooba orders probe into allegations of nepotism in recruitment of cousin
Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti on Sunday ordered a probe into allegations of nepotism in the selection of her cousin, Syed Aroot, for a job in the state’s Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB).
Mufti directed officials to hold a high level inquiry into the “procedural inadequacies” in the selection process of the KVIB, the results of which were declared a few days ago.
The inquiry would be held by a committee headed by chief secretary BB Vyas and it has been asked to submit its report ‘in a short time’, a government spokesman said. It did not set a specific time frame. for the probe.
Aroot tendered his resignation on Sunday.
Syed Aroot Madni, son of PDP vice-president Sartaj Madni and cousin of chief minister Mehbooba Mufti, was selected for the post of executive officer of the Board. Peer Kashif Hussain, the nephew of PDP general secretary Peerzada Mansoor — who is also the vice chairman of the KVIB itself — made it to the waiting list for the post of assistant executive officer.
The selections triggered a flurry of accusation against the CM and her party PDP as many candidates suspected that the selection process might have been rigged.
The fears gained further traction after a letter by state law secretary Abdul Majid Bhat, who was also controller of the JKKVIB recruitment exam, to IGP CID during the recruitment process, surfaced in media.
The letter, dated September 4, 2017, of which HT has a copy, stated there were some complaints that the examination process was “not fair” and wanted the CID to make in depth verification so that the examination process remains transparent and no one was favoured. It was not clear if the CID took any action.
Before the letter became public, officials had defended the recruitment process saying a “fair selection process was ensured.”
A call to Bhat went unanswered. Chairman KVIB and state’s industries minister Chander Parakash Ganga and vice chairman KVIB Peerzada Mansoor did not pick calls from HT. Government spokesman Naeem Akhtar also did not respond.
Sartaj Madni said that his son has tendered resignation from the job. “We don’t want other selected candidates to suffer,” he said. On Friday he had dismissed allegations of nepotism saying children of political workers also have the right to apply for jobs and compete.
The opposition National Conference alleged that the selection list of KVIB was full of appointments made on the basis of relations and affiliations to the CM’s family and party. The party including its working president Omar Abdullah has demanded quashing of the list and a court monitored judicial probe.
“Withdrawal of application by Sartaj Madni’s son doesn’t end the case but indicates he wouldn’t have been able to stand scrutiny of a probe,” the party tweeted.