Joint director not ‘exonerated’ yet
Srinagar: Asserting that the services of the joint director of information department, who was removed on charges of misappropriation of advertisements, have not been fully restored, the government said on Saturday that it has now initiated an “in-depth inquiry” to probe into corrupt practices within the information department.
“We have not ended the inquiry called into the advertisement misappropriation. Neither have we exonerated the attached joint director,” Information Minister Zulfkar Chowdhary told Kashmir Reader. “The joint director has been removed from the advertisement wing of the information department. He has been asked to just look after little things in the department.”
He said the ongoing inquiry called into the advertisement fraud has “unravelled” many secrets. He said that an “in-depth inquiry” has now been ordered to investigate the matter further.
“The inquiry initiated after the advertisement misappropriation has unravelled many things happening within the department. So we have decided to dig deeper and try to clean the mess,” Chowdhary said. “We have ordered an inquiry which will broaden its scope of investigation to bring out the truth behind misappropriations. The in-depth inquiry will be completed within 30 days.”
The minister said that after the inquiry is completed, the inquiry officer will produce a charge-sheet against all those found involved in any sort of illegal dealing.
The joint director was attached and an inquiry ordered after a Right to Information (RTI) inquiry revealed that major chunk of the advertisements will go to a handful of newspapers or to those who even were not in circulation.
Employees of the information department had stopped issuing advertisements to newspapers demanding that the attachment order of the joint director be revoked. They partially resumed work after higher-ups assured them that the department will complete the inquiry within 48 hours and will end the accused officer’s suspension.
A few days later, the government revoked the attachment order of the joint director.
Insiders in the department said that the services of the suspended joint director were restored due to the pressure from the information department employees.
There are a total of 467 news publications approved by the information department that are entitled to receive advertisements from the department.
This particular episode has given credence to the oft-repeated accusations that an organised ring of employees is hand-in-glove with newspaper owners whose papers are present on the advertising list but are absent on the newsstands. It has been further alleged that the complicit employees receive monetary benefits and commissions in lieu of releasing advertisements.