SAC notice to FM

State Accountability Commission has begun its work in right earnest. After opening suo moto case against the former Education Minister Peerzada Muhammad Sayeed in regard to his son’s fraud at 10+2 examination, now the SAC has issued notice to the Finance Minister, Abdul Rahim Rather who has been asked to appear in person or through counsel before the commission on March 6, 2012 in connection with Smart Card allegations. The notice was issued by a bench of the SAC comprising Justice YP Nargotra (Rtd) Chairperson and Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain (Rtd) Member. A complaint has been filed before the Commission by Yuva Shakti Vikas Mission in which some allegations have been leveled against the Finance Minister and the former Chief Minister, Dr, Farooq Abdullah. The petitioner has alleged that Abdul Rahim Rather gave a contract worth Rs 2 crores to his son, in respect of preparing Smart Cards for the Secretariat employees, in gross violation of the codal formalities. The petitioner further alleged that Rather’s son was not qualified to run such a project.
In the second complaint, in respect of computerization of employees’ data base commonly known as Computerized Personal Information System (CPIS) of about 5 lakh employees of the State and temporary employees of different categories, the petitioner contends that commission worth Rs 12 Crore has been earned by Abdul Rahim Rather. In the third complaint it is reported that in order to grab the recently sanctioned Rs 356 crore for conservation/ preservation of Dal Lake by the Central Government, the Finance Minister hatched a plan of studying the so-called Dal Catchments. This was allegedly done in gross violation of the codal formalities and money was siphoned off. It may be reminded that a hefty amount of 356 crore rupees was sanctioned by the Union Government for the preservation of Dal Lake. In yet another complaint the allegation was brought against Dr. Farooq Abdullah for importing Secretariat Training Courses to the Secretariat employees in gross violation to the codal formalities. The big contract of 16 crore rupees was given to a kith by Farooq.
The Commission took up the allegations for verification and asked for all relevant documents from the finance and other departments which were readily made available. But after the perusal of the documentary evidence, the Commission found that only one complaint could be found having some basis for enquiry. This pertained to 2 crore rupees project of smart cards for the Secretariat employees. It is in this connection that Finance Minister has been asked to attend the court either in person or through a representative on March 6. The 2-crore contract has gone to the son of Finance Minister
In the first place, we can appreciate the initiatives of the SAC to enforce accountability as laid down by the law of the land. In one week, the SAC has brought to book two senior ministers of cabinet rank. This was not imaginable in previous days. As such the credit goes to the Chief Minister who had repeatedly said hat he would like an accountability institution in the State to function independently and restore confidence among the people that the Government was seized with the purpose of giving them clean administration. The Chief Minister has expressed his satisfaction over this watch dog institution performing its duty with all seriousness. Though perusal of the complaints against the Finance Minister has shown that two out of three allegations are unfounded and it is only in one allegation that the minister becomes answerable, yet the point is that accountability has come into play in the administrative dispensation of our State. If the allegation brought about 2-crore smart card project is proved and the SAC is convinced, further action will follow. This augurs well for the State which has been steeped in corruption without accountability. We hope that given the dedication and courage to take on VIPs and influential persons, politicians and bureaucrats, the Accountability Commission will be setting an excellent example of doing justice to the people. The initiative of the SAC should inspire confidence in other establishments of the state that are concerned with accountability.