Anita Joshua

NEW DELHI: Over a score members of Parliament have petitioned Human Resource Development (HRD) Minister Kapil Sibal for the removal of the director of the National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language (NCPUL), M. Hamidullah Bhat. An appointee of the former HRD Minister, Murli Manohar Joshi, Dr. Bhat survived HRD Minister Arjun Singh’s dispensation and has remained in office a decade after appointment.

According to the petition, Dr. Bhat manipulated recruitment rules, which mandate that the post of director is a term post not exceeding five years.

Dr. Bhat was moved out of the NCPUL after the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) arrested him on September 30, 2005, for possession of assets disproportionate to his known sources of income, the MPs pointed out in their letter to Mr. Sibal.

While the CBI case was on, Dr. Bhat was relieved of his charge at NCPUL in October 2006, and brought to the HRD Ministry as director of the Minority Cell in the Higher Education Department. Earlier this year, when the general elections were on, he was sent back to NCPUL as Director on April 28.

“It surprises everyone to note that instead of initiating action, Dr. Bhat was brought back to NCPUL as its director, despite the fact that a CBI enquiry against him is still going on… We are concerned as to why a person of such tainted image and character enjoys the patronage of the Ministry which claims to give clean and just administration under the Prime Ministership of Manmohan Singh and able guidance of Sonia Gandhi, chairperson of the United Progressive Alliance,” they stated in the memorandum.

Referring to the report of the Goyal Committee, set up by Mr. Singh in September 2005 to look into the functioning of the Council, the petition seeks to draw the attention of Mr. Sibal to the mismanagement of funds allocated to the Council for various schemes. The signatories to the petition include Syed Azeez Pasha of the Communist Party of India; Jabir Husain of the Rashtriya Janata Dal; Tariq Anwar of the Nationalist Congress Party; P. Madhu of the CPI(M); and Kamal Akhtar of the SP.