Anti-corruption raid unearths millions of rupees in Kashmir


Srinagar : Anti-corruption raids on the home of an aide to a minister in the Jammu and Kashmir government found unaccounted wealth worth millions of rupees Thursday.

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Vigilance department officials became suspicious after they discovered that Bashir Ahmad Sheikh, the private secretary to the junior minister for roads and buildings, owns a motorized treadmill that costs more than Rs.200,000 and arrested him Tuesday.

"The officer has a high profile lifestyle which cannot be justified by his known sources of income," said a senior official of the vigilance department.

During a raid Thursday on the arrested officer's house, the vigilance department found a bank pass book with a balance of Rs.1.7 million, a post office savings account pass book with a balance of Rs.160,000 and electronic goods worth over Rs.300,000.

"We shall also be opening his bank lockers," the vigilance department official added requesting anonymity.

Jammu and Kahmir Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad had launched an anti-corruption drive after he assumed power in November 2005. Although many allegedly corrupt officials have been caught so far, the common man is still affected by corruption in every sphere of public life, complain common citizens.

"You have to pay your way through every government office you enter. If the chief minister has become pro-active against corrupt officials, the corrupt officials also appear to have become defiant," said Ali Muhammad, a farmer.