FM Drabu pleads House against discussing JK Bank

JAMMU: Winding up the debate on his budget proposals on Tuesday, Dr Haseeb Drabu, the finance minister, said he would like the appointments, if any, in the JK Bank should be more transparent. However, it should not be a reason for getting the issue to the House for a debate because it has costs for the finance institution.

Dr Haseeb A Drabu presenting his fourth budget in Assembly (Image: DIPR)

“I personally have the led the bank under three Chief Ministers – Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Ghulam Nabi Azad and Omar Abdullah, but I have always had the autonomy of decision making,” Drabu said. “I have been telling the Chairman who replaced me that he was fortunate to have me as the Finance minister because I understand the bank and him.”

Drabu said as Chairman of the bank, he had long discussions with Mohammad Akbar Lone, then Speaker,  and he was gracious in preventing a debate on the premier financial institution.

“Getting the bank to have discussions in the House has costs,” he said. “It is linked to the investors because there are institutions which have invested in the bank.”

The issue was appointments in the JK Bank were raised by various lawmakers including Mohammad Yousuf Tarigami, Altaf Kaloo and Mohammad Akbar Lone. This led to a series of acrimonious scenes in the house with free usage of unprintable words by at least two opposition lawmakers on Monday. While some of them had raised the issue of appointments, a few actually talked about the financial health of the premier financial institution.

Finance Minister Drabu referred to the demand and insisting the issue should not be made part of the house discussion. Apparently the House agreed because there was no insistence from any quarter.

The issue of acrimonious scenes and unprintable words almost started recurring in the house when Engineer Rashid had a verbal duel with Lone. The former was marshalled out and the entire speech was ordered by Deputy Speaker not to be reported by any media.

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