Thursday, February 22, 2024

CBI searches 9 locations, including premises of former media advisor to Satya Pal Malik

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) is conducting searches at nine locations, including the residence of the former media advisor to former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik, in Delhi, Jammu and Kashmir, and Rajasthan in connection with a case of alleged corruption in the Union Territory.

This comes days after CBI had questioned Malik at his residence for around five hours.

The case pertains to allegations of irregularities in an insurance scheme involving Anil Ambani-led Reliance General Insurance. The case was registered after Malik made allegations of attempts to bribe him in the matter.

In October 2021, Malik made claims that he had been offered bribes amounting to Rs 300 crore to expedite the clearance of two files, one of which was associated with an RSS leader. Responding to these allegations in March 2022, J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha acknowledged the gravity of the accusations and announced that the administration had taken the decision to transfer the case to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).

Opposition leaders earlier said Malik was targeted because he spoke about Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach to Pulwama attack.

On April 14, during an interview with The Wire, Malik said that Ram Madhav paid the then J&K governor a special visit to try and get him to pass a scheme proposed by Reliance Insurance. When Malik made it clear that the scheme had been cancelled and the paperwork was done, Madhav left disappointed, Malik said.

In an interview with The Wire’s Karan Thapar, Malik said that the attack took place due to the incompetence and negligence of the Central Reserve Police Force and the Union home ministry.

A suicide bomber driving a car filled with explosives collided with a bus transporting CRPF personnel in Pulwama district of Jammu and Kashmir on February 14, 2019. The attack resulted in the death of 40 CRPF personnel, and it was claimed by the Pakistani militant group Jaish-e-Mohammed.

Malik had revealed that the CRPF had requested aircraft to transport their personnel, as such a large convoy does not travel via road. The convoy included over 2,500 personnel and consisted of 78 vehicles.

The former governor told The Wire: “They only needed five aircraft, but these were not provided to them.. I told the prime minister on the same evening that this [the attack] took place because of our mistake. If we had provided them with aircraft, this would not have happened. But he asked me to stay silent about it.”

Malik said he was also advised by National Security Advisor Ajit Doval to refrain from discussing the issue.

Citing the interview, the Congress said that the Pulwama attack took place because of the Modi government’s mistake. “You [Modi] should have taken action on this mistake, but you suppressed this fact and set about trying to save your image,” it said. “The country is stunned to hear Satya Pal Malik’s words.”

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