Kickbacks and backtracks

PDP lawmaker Nizamuddin Bhat surprised the legislative assembly this week by apologising for the allegations of kickbacks in Rattle project he made against Chief Minister Omar Abdullah some time back.

During his speech on the grants, the PDP legislator said. “I had no intention to personally attack Omar Sahab, but we trusted wrong information and I tender my apology to CM … I have nothing personal against CM and nor do I have any intention to tarnish his image and with good intention I accept my fault.” Bhat said.

After his apology Chief Minister Omar Abdullah announced to withdraw criminal defamation case against Bhat However, criminal defamation case will continue against PDP spokesperson Naeem Akthar who was present in the press conference where Bhat alleged that Omar had received kickbacks worth Rs 500 crores in the Rattle power project.

Bhat’s apology came a day after PDP president made fresh hints of corruption though without naming the chief minister.
 
Mufti said that kickbacks have become a norm and referred to Rs 2 crore worth car, Rs 50 lakh worth watch, a Farm House and stashing money in Dubai while speaking on the grants of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s Departments in the Legislative Assembly.

Mufti said that their government was also offered kickbaks in the sanctioning of Sawalkote project but they instead asked the executing agency to construct four mini-hydel electric projects, two each for Jammu and Srinagar.

“If we had taken commission we too would have had watches worth Rs 50 lakh, car worth Rs 1.5 crore and plots. If you feel that you will come close to the people by resorting to loot, it is not going to be.” Mufti said.

Reacting to the allegations, chief minister dared her to name the legislator possessing the said assets.

No politics, only alliance!
Two influential political families, one from Kashmir and another from Gujarat have come closer with a matrimonial alliance, as Congress stalwart Ahmad Patel’s son Faisal Patel wed her Kashmiri fianc? Zainab Nedous this week.  Zainub is the daughter of Omar Nedou, a Srinagar-based hotelier, whose family established the famous Nedous Hotel in the hill resort of Gulmarg 122 years ago.The Nedous family is well known in Kashmir, as Sheikh Abdullah’s wife Akbar Jehan came from the family.

“We do not look for any politics in the marriage. Let it be a marriage of two initmate hearts from two distant places,” Muzaffar Ahmad Shah, Zainab’s uncle and president of the Awami National Conference told a news agency. Shah is a cousin of Farooq Abdullah.  The reception to be held in New Delhi in Sunday was salted to high profile guests including Congress chief Sonia Gandhi and Prime Minister Manmohan Singh besides Farooq Abdullah and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah.  Thirty-year-old Faisal, an MBA, was in the news in 2009 when his name was proposed by local Congress committees in Gujarat as a candidate for the Bharuch Lok Sabha seat. But the move did not materialise as Ahmed Patel reportedly did not favour the son’s immediate entry into politics.

Zainub is a communication officer in the Delhi office of the UNAIDS joint UN programme on HIV/AIDS. According to reports, the couple have known each other from their student days.

Akbar Jehan was the daughter of Michael Harry Nedou, an Austro-Swiss settler who married a Kashmiri Gujjar girl Mirjan. Harry’s father Michael Adam Nedou had founded the Gulmarg hotel and several other hotels in undivided India.

The Nedous family is said to have old links with Gujarat, as Michael Adams Nedous, basically an architect came from Europe to the subcontinent to build a palace for the Gujarat royal family.

A special Kashmir musical night will be organised on the eve of the ‘nikah’ here, Nedous family sources from Kashmir said.Faisal is considered to be in the inner circle of Rahul Gandhi.

A fistful hand   
The factionalism in the state unit of Congress took an ugly turn this week when the supporters of the two rival groups resorted to fisticuffs and exchanged blows in presence of senior leaders from Centre. In the ‘melee’ the two ‘warring’ sides not only assaulted each other but also did not spare the newly appointed incharge of J&K, CWC member Mohan Prakash, who was allegedly hit by supporters of one of the group while fighting.

According to reports, Prakash and other senior Congress leaders were meeting delegations at Government guest House in Srinagar, listening to the grievances of their workers. The leaders however were not receptive to complaints against any particular local leader. On this one delegation members insisted, contending that they wanted a change in the organisational structure as also change at the level of the PCC chief. The continuous insistence infuriated the members of the other delegation, both indulged in abusive language against each other. The verbal duel soon turned into fisticuffs.

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