SAV­ING THE TAINTED

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brazen act of po­lit­i­cal in­ter­fer­ence, the rul­ing Na­tional Con­fer­ence Congress coali­tion in J&K has put a lid on the probe against al­le­ga­tions of land grab against Cab­i­net min­is­ter Taj Mo­hi­ud­din of the Congress. J&K Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil Chair­man Amrit Malhotra dis­solved the com­mit­tee prob­ing the al­le­ga­tions aer the with­drew two of its mem­bers, Bashir Ah­mad Veeri and Khalid Na­jeeb Suhar­wardy, from the com­mit­tee.

The com­mit­tee was formed dur­ing the au­tumn ses­sion of the Leg­isla­tive Coun­cil aer Na­tional Pan­thers Party Rafiq Shah pro­duced rev­enue doc­u­ments that showed Mo­hi­ud­din in pos­ses­sion of 13 kanals (1 acre = 8 kanals) of State-owned forest­land in Shopian dis­trict. Health Min­is­ter RS Chib of the wrote to Malhotra, call­ing on him to wrap up the com­mit­tee. “It can­not be con­sti­tuted by the Up­per House against the sit­ting Cab­i­net min­is­ter who hap­pens to be a mem­ber of the Lower House,” Chib wrote in his com­mu­ni­ca­tion to Malhotra. The let­ter pleaded scrap­ping of the five-mem­ber com­mit­tee on the grounds that the chair­man did not take the House on board be­fore con­sti­tut­ing the com­mit­tee.

How­ever, in his re­ply to Chib, the chair­man stood his ground. “I want to make it clear that I’m sup­posed to take de­ci­sions on the ba­sis of record and ev­i­dence brought be­fore me and on be­ing sat­is­fied about the need and ne­ces­sity of tak­ing a par­tic­u­lar de­ci­sion,” Malhotra wrote, adding, “There was, and there is, no rea­son for seek­ing any­body’s ad­vice in the mat­ter. Sug­ges­tions for seek­ing le­gal ad­vice in the mat­ter are un­so­licited and un­wel­come.”

Chib was not the only politi­cian de­mand­ing the dis­so­lu­tion of the com­mit­tee. Eight Congress law­mak­ers also urged the chair­man to dis­solve the com­mit­tee.

While all these as­saults le the com­mit­tee hob­bled, the coup de grace came on 9 Novem­ber when the pulled out two of its mem­bers from the com­mit­tee. Malhotra dis­banded the com­mit­tee three days later. “The com­mit­tee does not seem to be in a po­si­tion to serve any pur­pose with­out the par­tic­i­pa­tion of Against this back­ground, I’m con­vinced that the con­tin­u­ance of the com­mit­tee would not serve any pur­pose,” Malhotra wrote.

Mo­hi­ud­din (le) has de­nied any wrong­do­ing and says that he’s open to a probe.

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