Shujaat Bukhari

SRINAGAR: Kashmir's ace television producers on Thursday demanded a probe by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) into what they call a multi-crore scam in allotment of work for commissioned programmes of Kashir Channel. One of them threatened self-immolation at Lal Chowk here in case the demands were not met.

At a press conference addressed by luminaries of television media Zamir Ashai, Tariq Javed, Bashir Dada, Parvaiz Masoodi and Umar Imtiaz, serious allegations of irregularities in allotting programmes for Kashir channel by Prasar Bharati were levelled and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh's intervention was sought.

Stating that the real spirit of Dr. Singh's special package of Rs. 100 crores for Kashir channel had been defeated, Mr Ashai said that Kashmir-based producers, writers and directors had not only been sidelined but also humiliated by the officials of Prasar Bharati in the name of "quality."

"We have been in the media for last 35 years and we have given our blood and sweat to this media and now we are being asked to prove our credentials!" said Tariq Javed, a household name in Kashmir. He said that for allotting programmes under this special package, first the "drama" of empanelment was enacted as "Prasar Bharati officials" wanted to allot thework to the producers of their choice. And later "when we presented ourselves we were asked to get award-winning people. Are all of them award-winning who have been given work and who should have given us the award?"

He announced that he would burn himself near Ghanta Ghar (Clock Tower) at Lal Chowk in case the "scam was not investigated and the allotment quashed."