CBI asks ex-J&K governor Satya Pal Malik to answer queries on insurance 'scam'
Malik had mentioned that he was approached by two private entities — one associated with a well-known corporate house and the other with well-placed political connections to get two files cleared.
NEW DELHI: Former Governor of Jammu and Kashmir Satyapal Malik will once again appear before the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) next week tentatively to depose in connection with the two graft cases amounting to Rs 300 crore in a group medical insurance scheme of J&K administration, registered in April 2022, based on bribery allegations levelled by him.
The CBI contacted Malik this week seeking his time to depose in the matter in view of questions and clarification sought from him in the case which is at present under investigation.
Malik has offered to make himself available tentatively either on April 27 or 28 depending upon his availability in view of his busy personal schedule. The investigating agency may either call Malik for the recording of the statement at its guest house at New Delhi’s Akbar Road or the CBI sleuths may visit the former J&K Governor’s residence to record his deposition.
This is the second time CBI has contacted Malik to record his statement in connection with the two bribery cases, based on his complaint that he had been approached by private parties, when he was the J&K Governor, to get two files cleared for which he was offered an alleged bribe of Rs 300 crore.
He appeared before the CBI to depose for the first time in the matter immediately after his tenure as J&K Governor ended on October 4.
The incident happened between August 23, 2018, and October 30, 2019, when Malik was the governor of J&K. In his complaint, Malik had mentioned that he was approached by two private entities — one associated with a well-known corporate house and the other with well-placed political connections to get two files cleared.
The files were pertaining to awarding of a contract for a group medical insurance scheme for government employees and civil work worth Rs 2,200 crore related to the Kiru hydroelectric power project in the erstwhile state of J&K, now a union territory.
Following allegations of Irregularities in the award of contract for the Jammu and Kashmir Employees Health Care Insurance Scheme which involved releasing Rs 60 crore in 2017-18, Malik at the capacity of J&K Governor cancelled the contract in October 2018. The allegation mainly pertained to the process adopted and rates fixed under the scheme.
Malik, who was the J&K Governor from August 2018 to October 2019, had made the disclosure at a gathering during an event in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan in October 2021 following which the CBI in April 2022 registered the two FIRs in connection with bribery allegations levelled by him.
The Rajasthan incident was reported in the media where Malik was quoted alleging that two files came to him for clearance, one belonging to Ambani and another to an RSS-affiliated man who was a minister in the previous Mehbooba Mufti-led PDP-BJP coalition government and claimed to be very close to the Prime Minister.
He told the gathering that secretaries of the two relevant departments told me that he would get “Rs 150 crore each for clearing the files to which he responded by saying “I have come with five kurta-pyjamas and will leave with that only.” He later informed the gathering that he cancelled both deals after the secretaries alerted him that there was a scam.
V Malik appeared before the CBI after his five years tenure as Governor ended on October 4. He was appointed as Governor of Bihar in 2017 after which he was sent to Jammu and Kashmir in 2018 where he oversaw the revocation of Article 370 in August 2019. Malik, who had criticised the Centre during farmers’ agitation, was moved to Meghalaya where his five-year tenure ended this month.
The move comes days after the former Jammu and Kashmir governor had levelled allegations against the Narendra Modi-led government over the Pulwama terror attack of February 2019, in which 40 CRPF Jawans had been killed.
Mailk, in a recent interview, claimed that the terror attack had taken place as a result of the Union Government's incompetence and cited it as a massive "intelligence failure."
(With inputs from Online Desk)