For the moment, it appears that the former Director General of Police, Kuldeep Khoda, is all set to take over as the state’s Chief Vigilance Commissioner (CVC) after the Jammu and Kashmir High Court and State Human Rights Commission dismissed a criminal complaint filed against him in the much publicized 1996 Bhaderwah triple murder case. His nightmare is, however, far from over.
Sources revealed that the state government has yet again sent strong recommendations in Khoda’s favour to appoint him as CVC. But the state’s bureaucracy is reported to have sent the file back to Governor with a negative addendum. An official document reveals Khoda had managed to ‘grab’ three strips of Housing Board land adjoining his house in Sector No 1, Chhanni Himmat, Jammu. The land he acquired on cash payment from Housing Board was reportedly reserved for construction of a rotary. Although a number of IAS officers have similarly acquired Housing Board land, Khoda has been at the receiving end of RTI activists and some bureaucrats, projecting him as a ‘land grabber’.
The document states that Khoda acquired a strip of 900 sq ft area from Housing Board on payment of Rs 2,74,600 by the way of a lease deed registered by Sub Judge Jammu on February 6th, 2008 when he was DGP, J&K. Recently, the General Administration Department (GAD) made certain clarifications to Raj Bhawan regarding Khoda’s planned appointment as the CVC. However, a negative addendum could again derail the process.
Earlier this year, Raj Bhawan had reportedly raised certain queries with regard to nomination of Khoda as CVC. Sources reveal that GAD and Law Department had completed the exercise and the file had been finally returned to Governor with fresh recommendation of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah in favour of the proposed appointment.
Three days before Khoda’s retirement as DGP, the government had organised the first meeting of the search committee in May this year and recommended Khoda for the plum post. However, the leader of the opposition in legislative assembly, Mehbooba Mufti, who happens to be one of the members of the committee, objected to Khoda’s appointment due to his name being involved in murder case. The lately created J&K State Vigilance Commission was established by way of an SRO by the government on February 15th, 2011. However, the appointment of Chief Vigilance Commissioner has not happened in the last 19 months.