DAYS AFTER he alleged that he was told he would get a Rs 300-crore bribe if he cleared two files belonging to “Ambani” and a “senior RSS functionary” during his tenure as Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) Governor, Satya Pal Malik said on Saturday that it would “not be correct” to name the person, but “everybody knows who was the RSS in-charge in J&K”.
Speaking to The Sunday Express, Malik, who is currently serving as the Governor of Meghalaya, said: “It would not be correct to name the person, but you can figure out who was the RSS in-charge in J&K. But I feel sorry, I should not have taken the RSS’s name. If anybody is functioning in his individual capacity or doing any business, only he should have been referred to. Irrespective of which organisation he is affiliated to, the organisation should not have been brought into it.”
Meanwhile, asked about Malik’s allegations, RSS leader Ram Madhav said in Surat, “ask him who or what it was”. When told that he was in J&K at that time, he said: “Nobody from the RSS would do something like that; but I really don’t know in what context he said it, or whether he said it or not. You should ask him… He may have said ‘somebody said this’… I have no knowledge about this, nobody from the RSS ever does this… He said in 2014 that we are losing the elections, and that we have done injustice to farmers. Do we believe all this? This could be his opinion, what is the truth, we don’t know.”
Malik made these remarks at a “public meeting” in Rajasthan on October 17. In a video of his speech, Malik says: “Two files came before me in J&K. One of them pertained to Ambani, the other to a senior RSS functionary. One of the secretaries told me these are shady deals, but you can get Rs 150 crore each from these. I rejected the offer saying I had come (to Kashmir) with five kurta-pyjamas, and will leave with just these. But, as a cautionary measure, I took time from the Prime Minister and went to meet him. I told him that this is the file, this is the ghapla (scam) in it, these are the people involved, and they take your name, you tell me what is to be done. If these projects are not to be cancelled, then I can leave and you can appoint anybody else in my place; but if I stay, I will not clear these project files. I praise the Prime Minister for his reply – he told me there is no need for any compromise on corruption”.
“People cannot imagine how corrupt J&K is. Across the country, the rate of commission for clearing such files is 4-5 per cent, but in J&K, they ask for 15 per cent commission. During my tenure, there was panic and no big corruption took place,” he says.
Asked if he took action against those who were trying to bribe him or government officials for getting their projects cleared, Malik said: “They were not trying to bribe me. But there was a bribe in those projects. There were a few people who were taking it… There was no requirement for any further action since I cancelled both the projects. That punishment was sufficient.”
In his speech, Malik also referred to the Roshni scheme, alleging that NC leader Farooq Abdullah, his son Omar Abdullah and PDP chief Mehbooba Mufti were among the beneficiaries. Both the NC and PDP leaders have said Malik’s charges are baseless, and have threatened to take legal action against him.
“Whatever I said is true,” Malik told The Sunday Express. “She (Mehbooba) is like a daughter to me because Muftiji was my very dear friend. I never spoke anything derogatory against her. I only said people took advantage of it. She did not take it (land) in her name, but her workers took plots of land on a very large scale. You know that benami works a lot in this country,” he said.
“She should know that, legally, she can neither send me a legal notice nor file a legal case against me… Had Mehbooba called me on the phone and asked me to retract my remarks, I would have done so, because I have such relations with her. She knows well that she cannot take legal action against me… I stand by what I said, but if somebody felt hurt (because of my remarks), I have no hesitancy in saying, ‘let’s leave it’. Whatever I said is the truth, but neither do I want to insist on it, and if somebody feels hurt, I will retract my remarks,” said Malik.
“(Farooq Abdullah) is an elder, a very senior politician. I respect him and did not say anything derogatory about him. But it is the general perception against these people, that they misused their power. I did not say anything myself. I do not have any malice against them,” he said.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines