Probe panel announced to prod into KVIB selections

JAMMU: After a delay of almost one month, the government on Monday constituted a Committee to conduct inquiry into the selections made by the J&K Khadi Village and Industries Board (KVIB) against various posts recently last month.

As per the order issued by the General Administration Department (GAD), Principal Secretary to the Government, Home Department R K Goyal has been appointed as Chairman while Principal Secretary to the Government, Health & Medical Education Department Dr Pawan Kotwal and Secretary to the Government, School Education Department Farooq Ahmad Shah have been appointed as committee members.

The terms of reference of the High Level Inquiry Committee include to enquire into the complaints relating to the alleged unfair selection made by the J&K Khadi and Village Industries Board against various posts, determine as to whether proper procedure as laid down in the relevant rules was followed, as has been done by the other recruiting agencies or not, enquire into the methodology in selecting the agency(ies) for setting the question, evaluation process etc and ascertain whether any deviation has been made in the selection process from advertising the posts to the release of selection lists.

The committee is to submit its final report within one month.

Pertinently, the government had ordered a probe on February 25 into the allegations of illegal appointment of candidates on various posts in the Khadi and Village Industries Board (KVIB) after the name of Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti’s cousin brother surfaced in the selection list.

Aroot Madni, son of the ruling PDP’s vice-president and CM’s maternal uncle Sartaj Madni, was appointed as the executive officer in the KVIB through a selection process which suffered procedural inadequacies.

The selection of Aroot, who is also PDP’s youth president in the Devsar Assembly constituency in south Kashmir created an uproar and after sharp public criticism, the Chief Minister directed “holding of a high-level inquiry into the procedural inadequacies” in the selection process of the KVIB, the results of which were declared a couple of days ago.

Importantly, the Examination controller Abdul Majid Bhat, who is also the Commissioner Secretary, Law and Parliamentary Affairs, had raised allegations with the J&K Police in a letter last year.

“There are some complaints against the examination process that it was not fair as the administrative secretary of Industries and Commerce also reported the same to me verbally,” Bhat had written to Abdul Gani Mir, IGP, CID, on September 4 last year. Bhat had requested the CID to kindly make an in-depth verification in the matter, so that it is ensured that the process was transparent and no favours were made to any candidate.

Though Aroot had voluntarily declined the job offer as Executive Officer but the issue gave enough ammunition for the opposition to target the government for resorting to ‘favoritism’.

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