Srinagar: Haseeb Drabu was removed from the cabinet not because of his ‘Kashmir is not political issue’ remark, but because he was always busy in projecting a “larger than life image” and always creating hurdles in the working of his fellow ministers, insiders in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) told Kashmir Reader.
“The lava had to explode,” one of them said. “The resentment was already brewing within the party. Drabu was arrogant and did not respond to the requests of ministers. He presented his image as larger than life and never credited the chief minister for her work.”
“It was his ‘I’ which ousted him,” the insider said.
Another PDP leader claimed that there were several reasons responsible for Drabu’s sacking. “Some of his decisions were going to be very detrimental for our future elections,” he said. “They would have hit our voter base on the ground.”
The PDP leaders said that Drabu introduced the Pays and Account Office (PAO) system in a jiffy, without caring for how it will impact the party. “PAO was introduced without any planning and foresight. No migration plan was put in place and as such it caused inconvenience to the contractors. Besides, all the development work was stalled,” they said. “He didn’t release pending dues of contractors even though he was asked to. Contractors are also voters. He did not listen to the party’s reservations on his decision.”
Drabu’s Mediclaim insurance scheme for employees was also done without proper tendering, PDP insiders said.
“Even though an earlier insurance scheme existed, huge premium was collected from all state employees for this new insurance. Doubts were raised about this insurance scheme. We received reports that he got kickbacks from the insurance scheme,” the PDP leader said.
He added that Drabu also interfered with the working of the Entrepreneurship Development Institute (EDI) by putting an end to many schemes, due to which thousands of entrepreneurs in the state became angry with the government.
“He also presented twisted figures of JK Bank balance sheets to show profit where none existed, and refinanced bad and loss-making accounts, thereby causing the bank losses of hundreds of crores of rupees,” the PDP leader claimed.
Party insiders claimed that Drabu forced JK Bank to give loans worth billions to his friends, who then happily defaulted on the re-payment.
“He also placed his close friends in the Human Resource and IT departments of JK Bank, even when cases of corruption had been proven against them,” one insider alleged.
“Drabu also withheld salary for Sarva Shiksha Abhiyan (SSA) teachers for months together. Last year, he promised to include their salaries in the Finance Department fund, but never implemented that. Salaries of government teachers were pending for more than six months, leading to agitations,” he added.
The insiders said that Drabu never visited his constituency ever since he won the election.
“Such were the reasons that created great resentment against him,” insiders said. “He was removed not for his statement but due to the accumulated anger of past many years.”
After he was dropped from the council of ministers, Drabu wrote a letter to the PDP saying he received no formal or even personal communication either from the government or from the party. “I stand informed by the media first as a speculation then as a fact,” he wrote in his letter.
Drabu was sacked two days after he said at a conference in Delhi that Kashmir was a social, not a political, issue.