Thursday, July 2, 2009

Scandals worth crores detected in Muslim Wakf Board

  1. Multi-crore purchases, constructions made without tenders
  2. Bank deposits clandestinely withdrawn
  3. CM constitutes Committee to submit report within 15 days
  4. Whitepaper on scandals being prepared for Assembly Session

Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah, who is also the Chairman of Muslim Wakf Board, today constituted an in-house Committee to look into the irregularities and mismanagement committed by the Board during last six years. The Chief Minister, while chairing the first meeting of the newly-constituted Wakf Board here this morning, gave this direction when the status report of the functioning of the last Board was reviewed in the meeting The status report revealed large-scale irregularities and mismanagement in the functioning of the last Board. Mr. Abdullah asked the Committee to present the report with its recommendations within a period of 15 days so that a whitepaper for the information of legislators and general public is issued accordingly.

The meeting was attended by Minister for Finance, Mr. Abdul Rahim Rather, Minister for Rural Development, Mr. Ali Mohammad Sagar, Vice Chairman, Muslim Wakf Board, Mr. M. Y. Qadri and Members of the Board, Maulana Riyaz Ahmad Hamdani, Maulana Showkat Hussain Keng, Mr. Ghulam Mohiddin Mattoo, Sheikh Ghulam Rasool, Dr. Mehrajuddin, Mrs. Nusrat Andrabi and Mr. Ahsan Ahmad Mirza.

The meeting was informed that among so many other irregularities, important records of the Board are missing. It was also informed that the number of employees of the Board has been more than doubled raising the wage bill of the Board employees to Rs. 6 crore from Rs. 2 crore. Various works have been started without proper tendering and expenditures have been made without approval, the meeting was informed. Fixed deposits with the banks running into crores of rupees were withdrawn without any sanction of the Board and the utilization of the money remains unexplained. Safes worth lakhs of rupees were purchased which now lie in storage as there was no requirement for these. Purchases were made without transparency and it appears to have been done to benefit a handful of vested interests at the cost of the ziarats and devotees.

It was also revealed in the meeting that since the time of conversion of Muslim Aquaf Trust into the Muslim Wakf Board, the last Board had virtually turned its functioning into a government department. It was added that Muslim Auqaf Trust constituted with the objective of maintaining, preserving and upgrading mosques, shrines and other Wakf properties besides rendering service to the Muslims, has lost its goal.

The meeting was informed that no care for Shariat law has been taken while making irrational and uncalled for expenditures and that too without any approval. The records of expenditures and Board decisions are missing, the meeting was told.

It was further informed that Wakf funds have been diverted for non-Wakf activities and even spent on the construction of roads.

The Chief Minister called for rendering selfless service to maintain, preserve and upgrade the shrines and Wakf property in the State. While reviewing the beautification of surroundings of shrines and the construction works, he directed for formulating a project for the Ziarat Peer Dastageer Saheb (RA) Khanyar, adding that the experience of those who have visited Baghdad-e-Sharief could be utilized for the preparation of the project.

The Chief Minister also asked the Board to also expedite improving of Hazratbal surroundings. He said the repair works of the Hazratbal sanctum sanctorum should be immediately taken in hand. He also directed for making necessary repairs at Ziarat Hazrat Makhdoom Saheb (RA).

Earlier, Mr. Qadri, while giving a brief resume of the status report and agenda points fixed for discussion today, presented a short history of Muslim Auqaf Trust which was converted into Muslim Wakf Board.

Mr. Qadri also identified areas requiring urgent attention of the Board. He also pinpointed the issues including introduction of vocational courses in the Wakf Board-run Schools and up-gradation of infrastructural facilities there.

The meeting discussed matters pertaining to the expansion programme of Hazratbal shrine, integrated circuit of Hazratbal and Idgah, construction works at Charar-e-Sharief, taking over of Bait-ul-Zaireen at Baba Reshi by the Board, expansion of premises of Hazrat Peer Dastageer Saheb (RA), creation of infrastructure at Mantaqi Schools. Awantipora, Charar-e-Sharief and Ahm-e-Sharief. Matters pertaining to Bibi Haleema Nursing College also come up for discussion.