Former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mehbooba Mufti lashed out at the Centre after the state Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) issued a notice to her in connection with alleged irregular appointments in J&K Bank.
The notice came on a day mainstream political parties in the state planned a meeting at a hotel in Srinagar in view of the uncertainty prevailing in Kashmir following the deployment of additional troops and the state administration’s order asking Amarnath Yatra pilgrims and tourists to leave the Valley owing to security reasons.
Mehbooba posted the notice on Twitter, saying she was not surprised by the development.
“Not surprised to receive a letter from the Anti-Corruption Bureau. Concerted efforts are being made to browbeat mainstream leaders & thwart potential efforts for a collective response. I am too small an entity vis-a-vis the cause that unites us today. Such tactics won’t work,” she wrote.
Targeting the Centre, she said it was “using corruption as a tool” to crack down on mainstream political parties.
“They (Centre) did whatever they had to with separatists. Now, they are using many tactics against mainstream political parties. When they got a hint of an all-party meet, Farooq (Abdullah) was taken to Chandigarh (for questioning by the ED in cricket association scam). They are using corruption as a tool against political parties, crackdowns are being done, workers are being harassed, detained in police stations and their security withdrawn,” she alleged.
“They (Centre) are making them (mainstream political leaders) vulnerable so that if anything happens tomorrow and people get angry, they (people) direct it at the mainstream parties rather than the Centre, and, god forbid, they are creating a civil war-like situation. It is a very sinister design that is going on,” she warned.
ACB in a notice to Mehbooba, asked her whether she had verbally or otherwise endorsed the recommendations made by some ministers in the PDP-BJP government for appointments in J&K Bank.
“During the course of investigations of case FIR No. 10/2019 police station ACBK dated 08/06/2019, it has surfaced that some appointments were made by chairman JK Bank on references of recommendation of few ministers. It may please be clarified that whether such references had your endorsement, verbal or otherwise, for appointments in JK Bank,” the ACB notice read.
On the planned meeting of political parties, she said police has asked hotels not to allow such meetings. “Now we are holding the meeting at my residence at 6 pm today,” she told reporters.
The PDP chief said she talked to National Conference (NC) president Farooq Abdullah about the meeting and he committed that party’s vice president Omar Abdullah would attend it.
“I talked to Farooq sahab, he is unwell. But he made the commitment that Omar sahib will attend the meeting. I have talked to other leaders. It is very important for J&K that mainstream parties, civil society, trade unions, religious organisations and even separatists come together to fight this scourge,” the PDP president said.
She said the Centre was not bothered to speak on the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. “We had made an effort to tell the people of this country and the government about the consequences if they toy with Articles 35A and 370 (of the Constitution). We made an appeal too, but no assurance has been given yet from the Centre. They are not bothered to say anything, to say that everything will be alright,” Mehbooba said.
(With agencies’ inputs)