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20 J&K officials get marching orders

By Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar
September 21, 2004 22:33 IST
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The Jammu and Kashmir government on Tuesday issued premature retirement orders to 20 tainted officials from police, revenue, forest, rural development and power development departments. The move is part of the state government's drive to weed out corruption.

Tho outgoing officials include Srinagar superintendent of police Mohammad Hafiz, three deputy police superintendents, a senior police inspector, eleven revenue officers, including assistant commissioner Moti Singh, two rural development officials and an assistant executive engineer of the power development department.

"The premature retirement of the officials is part of the drive to remove dead wood from the administration and to provide a responsive administration," an official spokesman said. "The government is determined to continue the process for an efficient, transparent and accountable administration," he said.

It may be recalled that two weeks ago the state vigilance organisation (VO) conducted lightening raids at the residences of a senior IAS officer in a jute mat scam. The officer has since been missing, apparently to avert custodial interrogation.

The noted criminal lawyer and former union law minister Ram Jethmalani appeared on behalf of the officer, Ajit Kumar, who is the senior most IAS officer to come under a cloud.

Kumar on Tuesday pleaded for anticipatory bail before the state high court maintaining that the case in which the VO choose to act had been pending for seven years and that the 'sudden reopening of the case was motivated'. The court has reserved its decision on the officer's bail till Wednesday.

Last year, the state government prematurely retired 19 government servants with suspect reputations in various departments.

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Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar