JK Deputy CM Says Abdullahs Involved In Controversial Solar Deal
All in it together?
SRINAGAR: Jammu and Kashmir Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh has dragged former Union Minister for Renewable Energy at the time Farooq Abdullah and his son, Omar Abdullah, into the row over the "illegal" allotment of a solar project in Kathua to a Chennai-based firm.
Singh said the state government headed by Omar Abdullah had entered into an agreement on April 9, 2013, with The India Energy Private Limited firm for setting up the photo-voltaic Power Plant project at an estimated cost of Rs 700 crore on 300 acres of land at Chann Arrorian in Kathua district of Jammu region.
He said the agreement with The India Energy was finalised by the J&K government's Science and Technology department headed by National Conference's influential Shia leader, Aga Ruhullah, allegedly at the behest of the then union renewable energy minister and NC patron, Dr Farooq Abdullah.
"The deal happened with the full consent and knowledge of then power minister, Omar Abdullah, and his father, Dr Farooq Abdullah, the then union new and renewable energy minister. I welcome a probe which will establish all facts in the case," Dr Singh said.
The deputy chief minister also denied any role in the transfer of J&K's power secretary, Sandeep Nayak, for allegedly refusing to clear the project. “I was never in direct contact with the firm. Whatever happened, happened in full knowledge of chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Imran Raza Ansari, Sajad Lone, Haseeb Drabu and Pawan Gupta who were present in the meeting. The fault lies with father and son (Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah). They are directly responsible for all this mess,” Dr Singh said.
Coming to the deputy chief minister's rescue, state BJP chief spokesman Sunil Sethi said the project was not allotted by the previous Omar Abdullah government to the firm in 201c. "Rs 700 crore of 100 MW Solar Power Project for Chann Arrorian in Kathua district, Solar Power Plant to The India Energy Pvt Ltd were approved when National Conference and Congress were running the government in Jammu and Kashmir in 2013," he told reporters in Jammu.
Adil Khan, a resident of Kashmir who is one of the directors of the firm, told reporters here Wednesday that the Power Department had "no" role in the project and "it was the previous National Conference (NC)-Congress coalition government which had actually approved" it.
"We are suffering in the fight between bureaucrats and politicians. Is it because I am a Kashmiri that I am being cornered? The project is for the benefit of the people of the state. There was no need for tendering or any biding for the project since there is no investment from the government," he said.
"The Power Department has no role in the project except signing the Power Purchase Agreement (PPA). I am neither affiliated with any political party nor am I clarifying on behalf of the deputy chief minister," he said.