In what could be the end of a long drawn process for setting up of the State Vigilance Commission (SVC), the Jammu and Kashmir government has decided to appoint former Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda as the first Chief Vigilance Commissioner of the state.
State Chief Secretary Madhav Lal confirmed to a local news agency, KNS that appointment of Khoda as the first CVC of the state has been approved and ‘necessary orders to this effect will be issued shortly’. “An official notification for setting up of the commission with Kuldeep Khoda being appointed as the CVC, will be issued in a day or two”, Lal told KNS over phone.
However, the Chief Secretary said orders for appointment of only one of the two Vigilance Commissioners will be issued. “R K Jerath’s name will be notified as the Vigilance Commissioner and the name of M S Khan is not being included in the notification”, he added.
Pertinently, it was earlier reported that former bureaucrat Mohammad Syed Khan had withdrawn his name from the candidature for appointment as commissioner in the State Vigilance Commission.
Meanwhile, sources close to former DGP, Kuldeep Khoda confirmed to KNS that his appointment as state’s first CVC has been conveyed to him. They said former IAS officer R K Jerath has also been informed regarding the decision and asked to remain prepared to take over the charge of the VC.
When asked as to when the orders will be issued for constitution of the SVC, Commissioner Secretary GAD, Sheikh Mushtaq evaded a direct answer. “Whenever we issue orders they are uploaded on the official website of the General Administration Department for information of people”, he said.
As per the State Vigilance Commission Act, the CVC have to hold the office for a term of four years from the date on which he enters upon his office or till he retires on attaining the age of superannuation, which ever earlier.
A former IPS officer of 1974 batch, Kuldeep Khoda, retired as Director General of Jammu and Kashmir Police. He remained the longest -serving DGP of the state at four years and ten months before he reached to the age of superannuation.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Vigilance Commission Act came in force in 2011 after the state Assembly passed the bill to set up a commission in Jammu and Kashmir. However, the Government started the process of appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) and Vigilance Commissioners to the State Vigilance Commission on February 5, 2012 following issuance of guidelines for the appointment.
The Commission has been empowered to inquire or cause inquiries to be conducted into offences under the Prevention of Corruption Act, Samvat 2006 by public servants, employees of corporations, government companies, societies and local authorities owned or controlled by the Government. The Chief Vigilance Commissioner and Vigilance Commissioners will have to take oath according to the form set out for the purpose in schedule to this Act.
Pertinently on May 28, a panel, comprising chief minister Omar Abdullah, deputy chief minister Tara Chand and law minister Ali Mohammed Sagar had recommended the names of former Director General of Police Kuldeep Khoda for appointment as CVC. The panel had also recommended retired bureaucrats R K Jerath and MS Khan as Vigilance commissioners. The panel had sent these recommendations ignoring the objections raised by the leader of opposition Mehbooba Mufti over Khoda’s nomination.
The recommendations were in mid-June returned to the state government by the governor seeking certain queries and clarifications from the government, after which the state government had resubmitted the file, along with clarifications, to the governor for final approval.
Pertinently, the confirmation from the government for setting up of the commission came within 48 hours after KNS reported lack of action from the government over setting up of the commission despite approval from the state Governor N N Vohra.