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Oppn accuses PDP of nepotism as leaders’ relatives get shortlisted for jobs

The National Conference has asked Jammu and Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti to “explain” how Syed Aroot Madni and Peer Kashif Hussain figured on the list for the jobs.

india Updated: Feb 24, 2018 17:32 IST
Abhishek Saha
Abhishek Saha
Hindustan Times, Srinagar
National Conference,PDP,Mehbooba Mufti
NC spokesperson said Mehbooba Mufti is culpable for this “open loot and plunder” in Jammu and Kashmir. (PTI File Photo)

A son of the vice-president of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and a nephew of the party’s general secretary on Friday made it to the list of selected candidates for different jobs with the Jammu and Kashmir Khadi and Village Industries Board (JKKVIB), leading to a sharp attack from the opposition National Conference (NC).

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 while Peer Kashif Hussain, the nephew of PDP general secretary Peerzada Mansoor — who is also the vice-chairman of the JKKVIB itself — made it to the waiting list for the post of assistant executive officer.

The two names on the list has led to allegations of nepotism and conflict of interest against the PDP, although government officials and sources maintained that due process was followed in the selections.

Asked for a response, PDP’s Madni said, “You please tell me do our children [children of political workers] not have the right to apply for jobs. My son went through the complete process comprising written test and interviews and he got selected. What's wrong in this?”

Calls to Mansoor and Chander Prakash Ganga, the minister for industries and commerce who is also the chairman of the KVIB, went unanswered.

In a press statement, the NC has asked Mehbooba to “explain” how the two people figured on the list. NC state spokesperson Junaid Mattu said the government has taken the “patience of unemployed youth for granted and should not try to portray this brazen nepotism as a miraculous coincidence”.

He called the selections a “cruel joke” and demanded an immediate independent probe into the matter. He said, “Most of the people figuring in the final list issued by state KVIB are either children of close associates of PDP leaders or have direct patronage from the powers that be. The chief minister is directly culpable for this open loot and plunder she has authorised in the state,” Mattu added.

Shailendra Kumar, commissioner-secretary of the department of industries and commerce, who is also a director of the KVIB, said all steps were taken to ensure a completely fair selection process. “Secretary industries was not the controller of examination. The law secretary was in charge of the process.”

Kumar added, “A Delhi-based firm was chosen by the law secretary to conduct the written test. This firm has conductedmany examinations of the police department in the past and no questions have never been raised.”

He said that candidates were given a duplicatecopy of their written answer sheets and a key was provided a few hours after the exam so that they could match the answers and get an idea of how much they would score.

Some candidates, however, suspect manipulation in the interview. But Kumar said that the fourinterviewers had no idea of how much a candidate had scored in the written round nor did they know what marks each of them had given to a candidate.

An official requesting anonymity said that questions regarding the conflict of interest with regards to Mansoor and his nephew should not arise because Mansoor was not involved in either setting the written question paper or as an interviewer.

Calls to law secretaryAbdul Majid Bhat went unanswered.

The selection list also led to a wide array of Tweets and Facebook posts and among them was Shah Faesal, managing director of the state power development corporation and the first rank holder in the UPSC examination in 2010.

He wrote: “If it’s true that the merit list has been rigged then instead of an inquiry there should be an FIR. High time that we take those people to task who push our educated youngsters to wall and kill their confidence.”

EOM

First Published: Feb 24, 2018 17:32 IST