Seeking judicial inquiry into former Army chief General (retired) V.K. Singh’s “political adventures in Jammu and Kashmir”, the National Conference (NC) on Monday stepped up its efforts to build pressure on the principal coalition partner Congress to isolate Minister of Agriculture Ghulam Hassan Mir. The Army’s in-house inquiry into the purportedly unauthorised activities of the Technical Support Division (TSD), set up by Gen. Singh in 2010, has mentioned Mr. Mir as the recipient of a secret service fund worth Rs. 1.19 crore for destabilising the Omar Abdullah government.
Highly placed sources in the NC disclosed to The Hindu that Chief Minister Omar Abdullah discussed the current political crisis with senior leaders in the Congress in New Delhi on Monday.
“Omar Sahib has made it clear to the AICC headquarters that continuation of Mr. Mir in his Cabinet would make things awkward for the NC as well as the Congress, besides undermining the credibility of the State government and the institution of the Cabinet,” said a senior most NC leader. He claimed that Mr. Abdullah had received “positive signals” but advised to go by the report’s authentic version, rather than a newspaper clipping.
The NC sources said Mr. Abdullah had impressed upon the Congress to call back Mr. Mir and place him under suspension as an “associate member” until he comes clear in a credible inquiry. “Omar Sahib has reminded the Congress that Minister of State for Home Sajjad Kichloo (NC) had been asked to resign even when there was no proof of his criminal behaviour or negligence in Kishtwar riots. Minister of PWD Ghulam Mohammad Saroori (Congress) had resigned even when there was no proof of his culpability in his daughter’s criminal conduct in an examination. Even Minister of School Education Pirzada Sayeed (Congress) was divested of his key portfolio when there was no material evidence of his facilitation in arranging unfair means for his son’s examination. Omar Sahib has conveyed to the AICC that Mr. Mir’s continuation in the Cabinet would discredit the whole government,” the NC stalwart said.
Devinder Singh Rana, party president for Jammu province, said at a news conference in Jammu that the government would take its own “appropriate action” in the matter, making clear that his reaction was on behalf of the NC.
He, however, said that Mr. Mir should go by his conscience and stay away from the Cabinet. “There are very serious allegations against the Minister. He has not denied having taken the money. Significantly, the Government of India has neither denied the charges nor contradicted the contents of the Army report published in media,” Mr. Rana said.