Probes and findings proving immaterial in JK
By KANCHAN BASU
Probes and findings are two different things over which the Governments of the State and the Centre usually go very slow resulting which the delinquents in our Country go scot free and pass their luxury lives after acquiring due huge properties – Land and Flats in the posh colonies in the Metros and other big cities besides having the huge balance in the Banks and their houses.
By the Power of their assets and the money, they (delinquents) purchase the People at the helm of affairs in the ‘Investigating Agencies’ while probing of their guilt, misdoings and misdeeds.
There is no doubt that the Governments discharge their role in ordering for the ‘probes’ in the big scandals and the scams but after that they go under hibernation for long. For the over three decades, this bad practice is going on in the country but no tangible results have been seen with the result that the wrong doers are having the open field in committing the big wrongs during their tenures of the service careers.
It is quit relevant to mention here that some times, the probing agencies do their jobs judiciously and honestly and after having conducted the probes they submit their finding reports to the respective Governments for taking the deterrent administrative action against the wrong doers. But the competent authorities adopt the slow approach in dealing with things on this score. Usually , it has been observed that delays are generally made in taking the action against the wrong doers and resulting which and the passage of time, the Governments get changed in the next elections.
Sometimes, the probing agencies do their jobs judiciously and honestly conduct the Probes but they don’t submit their finding reports to the respective Governments for taking the deterrent administrative action against the wrong doers. This is very strange indeed. Their findings never see the light of the day as they don’t come in the public domain. I want to concentrate on the two scams and the scandals that happened in Jammu and Kashmir.
Police scam and the Medi claim Insurance of Employees and Pensioners – Done by Reliance General Insurance Company of Anil Ambani.
Both the Probes were ordered during the Governor’s Rule – Probe in to the ‘Police Scam’ was ordered by the then Governor of the Jammu and Kashmir N NVohra as the scam was related to the expenses incurred on the movement of the Police personnel from one place to another in the State during the LokSabha and J&K Legislative Assembly Elections 2015 in the regime of Omar Abdullah
And in the other one – Medi Claim Insurance of the Employees and Pensioners – done by the Reliance General Insurance Company of Anil Ambani. This probe was ordered during the present Governor Satya Pal Malik’s time.
After having done the Audit of Jammu & Kashmir Police, the Accountant General, J&K had furnished the detailed ‘Audit Report’ where under it was pinpointed therein the grave irregularities and defects about the financial scam involving a huge an amount of 116 Corers of Rupees drawn from the State exchequer on the fake bills and the vouchers during the Last Assembly / LokSabha Elections held in 2014, to the Jammu and Kashmir Government of the time and had sought for the detailed reply and the compliance to the certain ‘Objectionable Paras’ of the said report.
This was a major ‘Financial Scam’ which came to lime light in the year 2016. In this scam, top heads of police in various districts of the State were involved. While drawing the fake and fabricated bills from the various Government Treasuries of the State, officials had shown the registration numbers of the Scooter, Bikes, Tractors, Bulldozers and the no’s, of the Private Cars and Vehicles in connection with the transportation of the men and materials for the purpose of the conducting of the LokSabha and Assembly Elections held in 2014.
Pertinently, the money amounting to crores stands withdrawn from the different Treasuries functioning in the State under the Security Related Expenditure (SRE). The scam was exposed by the ‘Comptroller and Auditor General of India’ (CAG) during the Audit of sample of nine SSPs, SPs and the DDCs who got over 116 Corers from the ‘Police Head Quarters’ (PHQ) for the carriage of constabulary and hiring of the vehicles under SRE.
All these stand mentioned by CAG in its letter to the State Government enclosing there in voluminous report of 162 pages. Based upon the same, the Governor N NVohra ordered a probe into this big financial scam but the results of which never came in the Public domain or in the Print and Electronic Media as on Date.
People of the Jammu and Kashmir came to know about the same from the Print Media in April, 2016. This means that the major cases of the misappropriations and huge embezzlements have been hushed up and the wrongdoers have been pardoned by the then State Government, it is believed.
Now the Jammu and Kashmir State is under the Governor’s Rule and the administrative matters are moving nicely with the geared up speed under the command and control of the new incumbent Chief Secretary of the State Administration.
The situation demands that the new Governor Satya Pal Malik should issue the orders for putting the findings of the probe before him in the right perspective so that the wrongdoers do not go scot free otherwise, it would be a signal to the wrongdoers that there is nobody who can harm them Administratively or through Judiciary.
By ordering a probe into the matter, the Governor of the time should set an example that nobody is above law and whosoever – top Bureaucrats or the big Corporate can swindle the Government exchequer in future. In case the objectionable ‘Audit Para’ pinpointing this financial scam in the Auditor General’s Report stands replied by the then State Government over which the AG J&K stands apprised and who is fully satisfied by the answers to the various queries raised therein the report and the rectifications of the defects and the irregularities. It is the high time to act promptly and the Governor may instruct the State Administration for putting before him the findings of the probe done by the ‘Investigating Agencies’.
It is worth mentioning over here that some top Police Heads in the Government set up enjoy the patronage of the political leaders in power because of which they commit such crimes as they know that in case they are held criminally liable and responsible, they manage to use their influence in getting the ‘Clean Chits’ from the Vigilance Organization of the Jammu and Kashmir.
This is very unfortunate. Since the Jammu and Kashmir is under Governor’s Rule, it must leave no chance for the next political government in the State to shield the culprits and the wrongdoers in the months to come.
The Governor’s action, on this score, is very important indeed. It is important to mention here that Accountant General J&K conducted the Audit of the Police Administration and during the course of Audit, the Auditors found glaring and instances of grave irregularities in the transportation of the J&K Police Officials, vehicles and the constabulary from one place to another across the State for conducting of the Parliament and Assembly Elections in J&K.
After having conducted the Audit, the Audit Report was prepared by the AG J&K and was sent to the State Government for immediate compliance. In our system of governance, probes are generally ordered and with the passage of time, people forget them and the State authorities pardon the guilty and the influential wrongdoers and often withdraw the cases filed against them in the Court of Law subsequently as a result of which the guilty and the influential wrongdoers go scot free generally.
But in the administrative set up of the country top brass go scot free and occupy the top posts once again after getting the ‘Clean Chit’ from the State / Central Governments particularly the IAS and IPS officers. Even the tainted IAS and IPS officers of the Country after their retirements are enjoying their luxurious lives along with their families in and outside the country without any fear.
It is painful to write that now once again, the time has come for conducting of the Elections to the LokSabha and Assembly Elections in Jammu and Kashmir but the findings of the probe, in question have never been made available in the ‘Public Domain’ so far.
Not only this, it is apprehended that this time too, the authorities of the police department would adopt the same tactics to swindle the money of the State exchequer to the large extent as they know very much that there is nobody who would check them minutely. Therefore, it is the demand of the hour that the Governor’s administration to pass on strict instructions to them for the pre Audit of the bills and the vouchers, relating to the movement of the police personnel from one place to another besides the transportation of the goods and the materials required for the smooth conducting of the polls in the State, by the Finance Department.
Certainly, this step of the State Government would go a long way in saving the money collected by the Government from the tax payers. as far as possible.
THE MEDI CLAIM Insurance of the Employees and Pensioners was done by the Reliance General Insurance Company owned by Anil Ambani.
After a so called hectic exercise of the Finance Department of J&K Government, the Medi Claim Insurance Policy was launched for the benefits of the regular Employees and the Pensioners as well with great pomp and show by the Governor Administration effective from 1st September, 2018.
Not only this, the employees of the Governmental Autonomous Bodies were also made as the beneficiary of this Policy. The State Government had spent a big money for the publicity of the Medi Claim Insurance Policy.
Notably, there were big – ‘Full Page Advertisement’ in the various ‘Daily News Papers’ of the Jammu and Kashmir besides publicity in the Electronic Media also. These Advertisements were issued by Finance Department of J&K Government and were repeated time and again at the cost of the State exchequer.
The ‘Insurance Premium’ was deducted from the Salaries and the Pensions of the Employees and the Pensioners of the J&K State Government for the month of October as the Medi Claim Insurance Policy was effective from 1st September, 2018.
Pertinently, the said Medi Claim Insurance Policy was offered by the Reliance General Insurance Company owned big ‘Corporate’ of the Country Anil Ambani which was accepted as being the lowest bidder by the Governor Administration led by the Governor Satya Pal Malik.
Regarding the said Insurance scheme, the Employees and the Pensioners had pointed out certain shortcomings and higher rates of ‘Insurance Premium’ under the contents of this Policy. Medi Claim Insurance Policy, in question, was discontinued by the J&K Government within a Month because of the reason that the Governor of the State Satya Pal Malik received number of complaints and it was alleged that a ‘Big Booty of Money’ was made as a ‘Corruption’ by the Officers of the Finance Department of J&K Government.
The Governor Satya Pal Malik pointed out that based upon the inputs he had in this regard, were very serious in nature and the administration ordered an in depth probe into the entire deal with the Reliance General Insurance Company owned by Anil Ambani. More than six months are already over but it is quite surprising that up till now, no such outcome of the ‘probe’ ordered by the Governor has come into lime light which is a serious issue indeed.
Now since the said Policy is discontinued by the J&K State Government from January 1, 2019 but certainly the officers who remained at the helm of affairs in finalizing the said Medi Claim Insurance Policy contracted by the J&K State Government with the Reliance General Insurance Company, is going scot free without any deterrent punishment.
In the beginning the delinquents were frightened because it was clear that they will be taken to task by the J&K Governor Administration but it has been observed that with the passage of time, the guilty in this entire scam are passing their lives leisurely without any feat.
Pertinent to mention here that it is very unfortunate in this Country that whenever a small fish in the Governmental set up i.e. Patwari / Girdawar or a Revenue Clerk of the Deputy Commissioner Office is found involved in an embezzlement, he or she is always discharged from the government Service.
On the Country, when the higher officers of the Civil Administration or of the Police Administration are involved, they always go scot free as the State Governments protect them and even give them the ‘promotions’ also.
This time too, the guilty if not punished, the people would consider that the Governor Administration is exactly the same like any other political government in the State of Jammu and Kashmir and there is no difference at all.
(KanchanBasu is a Kolkatta based columnist)