The Last Karnama?



Late Ghulam Raasool Kar       File Photo
Late Ghulam Raasool Kar File Photo

In what could be a major embarrassment for Congress in Jammu and Kashmir that its former president late Ghulam Rasool Kar, who passed away in April, this year, had allegedly turned Congress’ Khidmat Trust, into a family enterprise.

As reported by Delhi based Newspaper, Indian Express, the historic trust owns prized property of more than Rs 200 Crore.

News paper quoting the deed reports said that in a supplementary Trust Deed executed “without any knowledge of the main trustees” – all of them veteran Congress leaders – Kar has transferred the Khidmat Trust to three persons – his wife, son and a daughter.

“The trustee no 2 (Ghulam Rasool Kar) has incorporated trustee no 1 (Habla Begum W/O Ghulam Rasool Kar) and 3 (Irshad Rasool Kar S/O Ghulam Rasool Kar) as trustee… by exercising his powers vested in him by the parent trust deed,” reads the supplementary trust deed executed clandestinely on October 28, 2013. The supplementary trust deed further reads that after the death of Kar, his daughter Masarat Rasool Kar “shall be the trustee in his place” thus turning the trust into a family enterprise.
The Khidmat Trust owns a big shopping complex, spread over an acre of land, in the heart of Srinagar city. The Trust also owns a printing press and a newspaper “Khidmat” which is the official organ of Congress. Real Estate businessmen put the value of the property at more than Rs 200 Crore.

The Khidmat Trust was established September 1992 by the Congress and Kar was its first Managing Trustee. The trustees of the trust include Congress’ leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, senior Congress leader M L Fotedar and former Deputy Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Mangat Ram Sharma – he later joined Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) – beside others.

Interestingly, Kar’s son Irshad too has joined the Peoples Democratic Party.

Congress says they have no idea about the ‘supplementary trust deed’. “How can they do it? It is a Congress trust. They might have forged the documents,” Congress state president G A Mir told The Indian Express. “It seems a conspiracy against Congress. He (Irshad) has joined PDP and it seems PDP is part to this conspiracy. We will look into it”.

Ghulam Nabi Azad, who is a trustee of Khidmat Trust, says “this can’t happen”. “This is a Congress property. We are four trustees: me, Ghulam Rasool Kar, M L Fotedar and Mangat Ram Sharma.

The documents as reported reveal that prior to executing the supplementary deed, a meeting of the Khidmat Trust was held on August 10, 2013 chaired by Ghulam Rasool Kar. The meeting “decided that Habla Kar (wife of Ghulam Rasool Kar) shall function as chairperson” of the Trust. “The chairman (Kar) informed the present trustees that Ghulam Nabi Azad and Makhan Lal Fotedar (trustees) couldn’t participate in the meeting because of their busy schedule. Mangat Ram Sharma (trustee) also was not able to attend the meeting because of ill health,” read the minutes of the meeting.

Kar’s son Irshad Rasool, however, denied commenting on the issue. “If you have a story, you can publish it,” he is reported to have said.

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