*DySP refuses to apologize, says he strictly followed orders
JAMMU, Feb 18: Raj Bhawan and Horticulture Minister Basharat Bukhari were today involved in a bitter standoff with Governor NN Vohra expressing displeasure to the Minister over his “behaviour” with one of the security official of the Governor House yesterday before oath taking ceremony of PDP leader Syed Altaf Bukhari. The Minister has, however, sought an apology from the security official.
“The Governor has expressed his displeasure to Basharat Bukhari over yesterday’s episode in which the Minister had heated arguments with the security official at the Raj Bhawan before refusing to join the oath taking ceremony and returning from the venue along with PDP Rajya Sabha member Nazir Ahmad Laway in protest,” official sources told the Excelsior.
DySP Raj Bhawan Security Mohammad Ayub Bhat was on security duty at Main Gate of the Raj Bhawan from where the Ministers were entering the Governor House for oath taking ceremony of Altaf Bukhari, which took place at 12.30 pm yesterday.
Basharat Bukhari, who had yesterday evening submitted his resignation to Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on being allocated insignificant portfolio of Horticulture after being divested of Revenue, Relief and Rehabilitation, had taken along with him in his official vehicle the PDP Rajya Sabha member Nazir Ahmad Laway and three other party leaders.
The DySP told Basharat that as per standing instruction of the Raj Bhawan Security, only one person has to be allowed against one invitation card, sources said, adding that Basharat was in possession of only one invitation of his own while Laway and three others, accompanying him, hadn’t been extended any invitation by the Raj Bhawan.
Basharat Bukhari insisted that either all of them would go to the venue of oath ceremony or none and he too would return. The DySP made it clear to the highly agitated Minister that he was only following instructions of the senior officers of the Raj Bhawan, who have clearly stated that every single individual should have invitation card and only one person has to be allowed on one card.
“As per the procedure”, sources said, “Basharat Bukhari should have five invitation cards, duly issued by the Raj Bhawan with him but he was carrying only one card and wanted all five persons to be allowed inside.
Sources said Bukhari had heated arguments with the DySP, who maintained calm saying it was question of the Raj Bhawan security and he can’t violate the standing instructions by allowing five persons on one invitation card.
Sources said an agitated Bukhari refused to attend the oath taking ceremony alone and turned the vehicle back. He left the venue with Laway and three other party leaders.
Later, Basharat Bukhari took up the matter with Director General of Police (DGP) Dr Shesh Pal Vaid, who ordered an inquiry into the episode and wanted SSP Security Raj Bhawan Ajit Dogra to submit a report to him.
Sources said Dogra called DySP Mohammad Ayub Bhat after the oath taking ceremony, who narrated entire incident.
Confirming that the issue later reached to Governor NN Vohra, sources said, he has expressed his displeasure to Basharat Bukhari.
According to sources, the oath taking ceremony was hosted by the Raj Bhawan, which had sole authority to take decision on extending invitations.
Basharat Bukhari had reportedly maintained during his arguments with the DySP Raj Bhawan Security that Nazir Ahmad Laway was a Rajya Sabha member and should have been invited to the oath taking ceremony. However, sources maintained, it was exclusive prerogative of the Raj Bhawan to take decision on extending invites for oath taking ceremony.
According to sources, the DySP had categorically refused to tender any kind of apology to the Minister though initially being asked to do so by a senior police officer, on the ground that he had followed instructions of the Raj Bhawan Security officials and done nothing wrong by asking for invitation cards from the persons accompanying the Minister.