Throwing all norms to winds, ‘blue eyed reporter’ in LC made top officer equivalent to IAS cadre

PMO, LM seek report from CS

Gopal Sharma

JAMMU, Sept 17: It may sound ‘incredible’, rather ‘impossible’ to many, but it is a ‘hard fact’ that an employee appointed just as reporter, equivalent to a clerk in the J&K Legislature that too, through ‘backdoor’, managed to secure the position of Special Secretary, equivalent to senior IAS cadre. In State like J&K, it is not a single isolated case, but this particular case became an ‘eye opener’ for many in the Union Government.
Highly placed sources told the Excelsior that this particular case of Ishfaq Ahmed Wani, presently placed as Special Secretary in the J&K Govt, has drawn the attention of Prime Minister’s Office, which has directed the Union Law Ministry to initiate probe and submit detailed report shortly.
Even the PMO in its letter No. PMOPG/D/2019/0205982, dated 24-6-2019, has sought a detailed report directly from the Chief Secretary, J&K, BVR Subrahmanyam in this regard. The Chief Secretary has further directed the Secretary Legislative Council, Secretary Law and Secretary General Administration Department (GAD) J&K to submit a report, on the petition of Ali Mohd Rawat ( Secy SCBC, J&K), for appropriate action against the officer and also those responsible for the lapses, irregularities and fraud. But the officers at the helm of affairs are reportedly avoiding the reply as this great ‘blunder after blunder’ may expose several top officers and also raise question mark on the State of affairs and illegal/ unfair practices prevailing in J&K in the past.
Reports said that axe may fall on some top officials including two former Secretaries in the Law Department and two former Secretaries of J&K Legislative Council. The shady role of a former Chairperson of LC may also prominently figure in the report during detailed probe.
One may have heard of promotion of an employee after five years, seven years or may be after 10 years, but this ‘blue eyed’ employee, was accorded two promotions within just one year of his appointment and also during 2004. No body will believe it, but the entire record in the possession of Excelsior has clearly revealed that it has happened in J&K during past two decades.
It was all done in sheer violations of existing rules and norms and even the seniority for senior position in case of this officer was fixed through ‘negotiation / undertaking’ on just an Affidavit of Rs 10 only, by a committee under the then secretary LC Abdul Majid Bhat and Mohd Ashraf Wani, Additional Secretary LC, which is classical example and mockery of the system prevailing in the past. It was done just to make ‘impossible as possible’ for this ‘blue eyed man, a close relative for former Vice Chairman of Khadi and Village Board Industry, which remained in headlines due to infamous recruitment scam involving some PDP leaders.
The documents revealed that Ishfaq Ahmed Wani, son of Bashir Ahmed Wani, resident of Kanihama in Budgam (Kashmir), was allegedly appointed through ‘backdoor’ as Reporter in the pay grade of Rs 5000-8000 in the Legislative Council vide Council Secretariat Order No. 75LC of 2001, dated 16-2-2001 after the promotion of Ali Mohd Dar as Senior Reporter. For this post, no employment notice was issued and interviews conducted as routine legal and mandatory exercise. Today, this officer is two steps ahead of Dar against whose post he was accommodated with the patronage of some top officers.
Within five months of his posting, this employee was placed as Private Secretary to Chairman LC, vide order No. 290 (A)-LC of 2001 on 03-07- 2001. Then within three and half months, on 27-11-2001 placed/ promoted as Senior Stenographer, in just another cadre for which no applications of Stenographers were invited against the available post. Then yet another order was issued on 29-11-2001 where in, he was allowed to continue as private secretary to Chairman.
On 22-10-2002, charge allowance of the post of Senior Scale Stenographer with effect from 11-7-2002 was accorded to him vide order No. 485- LC of 2002 while yet another promotion was accorded to the pay grade of Rs 7500-12000 within three years of his posting as Private Secretary to Chairman LC. Showering more favours on this only ‘favourite’, he was accorded effect of this post from July 11, 2002 by issuing another order No. 37-LC of 2004 on 29-2-2004. Again, on 23-8-2004 vide Order No 328-LC of 2004 this post/ pay grade was upgraded to the higher pay grade to Rs 10,000-15,200 . Then again on 20-2-2008, he was promoted as Special Assistant to the Chairman vice order No. 841-LC equivalent to Dy Secretary’s grade in sheer violation of standing rules as special case.
Now, in order to make way for his next promotion, against the post of Additional Secretary, equivalent to the cadre of senior IAS scale, a proposal was mooted involving some people from Law department and Legislative Council, to make some amendments/ relaxations in the existing Rules to accommodate this officer against the 2 posts of Addl Secretary ( in Pay scale 15,600-39100+7600) available in the LC. Some more posts of Pvt Secys, Editor, Translators, Reporters and Watch and Wards staff were filled up during that exercise.
As per standing rules (Rule 31 (1)) of 3rd Schedule of J&K Rules Book, the cases relating to appointment/ making statutory rules, related to recruitment, promotions of the officers in Legislature of the rank of Under Secretary and above, other than falling within the purview of the Cabinet, shall have to be submitted to the Chief Minister through Chief Secretary, but in this case, no such exercise was undertaken and the files were never sent to even the Chief Minister/ Chief Secretary, the sources maintained.
The same officer was promoted as Additional Secretary vide LC Order No. 229 of 2017 dated 27-3-2017, in gross violation of standing Recruitment Rules and again on 28-9-2018 he was yet accorded another promotion vide Order No.466-LC of 2018 as Special Secretary, equivalent to the Grade of Senior Scale IAS officer in the pay grade of Rs 1.23 lakh to Rs 2.15 lakh.
Interestingly, in a petition filed by his colleague in the High Court to challenge his promotion and change of cadre, the said officer/ some officials concealed many facts. The court while disposing off petition on 23-2-2018, directed the State authorities to consider his promotion as Additional Secretary with effect from April 2013, but the officer had already been promoted as Special Secretary even before this order on 28-9-2018 vide Council Secretariat Order No. 466-LC of 2018.
It indicates that even the court was kept in the dark by the people at the helm of affairs. Now, in a contempt petition filed by the aggrieved officer in the HC, the officers concerned are delaying the reply to the court, sensing trouble for them. The then Chairman LC, Amrit Malhotra had disapproved promotion of this officer once, on the ground that criminal proceedings were pending against him in the court, in order dated 21-4-2013. But how he continued to manage promotions and dodge court and misplace facts before high authorities, for making his ‘way further’ is a million dollar question.