NEW DELHI — Former Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik there was “no question of apologising”, after Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh’s (RSS) national executive member Ram Madhav sent him a legal notice, accusing him of making “defamatory statements” and seeking an apology.
On Thursday, Madhav sent a legal notice to Malik, stating that in an interview to a YouTube channel on 8 April 2023, the latter made “untrue and defamatory statements to stay relevant in a political circle”.
Reiterating his 2021 stance, Malik, in the said interview, alleged that when he was the J&K governor, the RSS leader had met and told him about the involvement of kickbacks worth Rs 300 crore in clearing files for two projects.
Malik was the governor of the erstwhile state of J&K from 2018 till the abrogation of Article 370 after which the state was bifurcated into two Union Territories.
Madhav also sought immediate issuance of an open and public apology from Malik within 48 hours of receipt of this notice, for the “mental agony and harassment faced by him”.
“You the addressee are well known in the political circles, however, lately owing your fading popularity and relevance, and to stay relevant in the social life of this country, for the sake of gathering public attention through sensationalism you have made certain untrue, defamatory, and incriminating statements on the said YouTube channel in an interview on 08.04.2023 in conspiracy with the interviewer of a YouTube channel,” read the notice.
Speaking to former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik said that there was no question of him apologising to Madhav, instead he would send a written response to the notice.
Malik added that someone may have “pressured him (Madhav) to send this notice”.
“I said this three years ago in 2021 that I was offered a bribe by the RSS functionary to clear two files when I was [J&K] governor. I have not said anything new. This legal notice makes no sense and I will send a written response to it soon
Meanwhile, Ram Madhav’s lawyer, Ayush Anand, while Malik had referred to corruption by an “RSS functionary” in 2021, he had not taken Madhav’s name. This time, Malik went ahead to take his name, and that is why he has been sent a legal notice.
“This is an attempt to defame the leader and the statement is completely untrue and defamatory in nature. Moreover, the Central Bureau of Investigation is holding a probe in this matter and this is an attempt to influence the probe,” Anand told .
reached Ram Madhav for comment via calls and messages but had not received a response by the time of publication. This report will be updated if and when a response is received.
Was told will get Rs 150 crore each for clearing files’
In October 2021, Malik had claimed that he was offered a Rs 300 crore bribe for clearing two files during his tenure as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir between August 23, 2018 and October 30, 2019.
Among the two files, Malik claimed, was a group medical insurance scheme for government employees and civil work worth Rs 2,200 crore related to the Kiru hydroelectric power project in J&K’s Kishtwar district.
“After going to Kashmir, two files came to me (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 (Narendra Modi),” he had said.
According to reports, the government had tied up with Reliance General Insurance, part of the Anil Ambani-led Reliance Group, for the group health insurance policy.
“I was informed by secretaries in both departments that there is a scandal and I accordingly cancelled both deals,” he had said.
“The secretaries told me that ‘you will get Rs 150 crore each for clearing the files’ but I told them that I have come with five kurta-pyjamas and will leave with that only,” Malik had told a gathering at an event in Jhunjhunu in Rajasthan in October 2021.
Malik that in response to Madhav’s notice, he would ask the RSS leader why did he visit the Raj Bhawan the day after the files were not cleared and deals were cancelled.
“He (Madhav) came to Raj Bhawan early in the morning the day after I cancelled the deals. He categorically asked me if I had cancelled the deals, and I said yes. Then we had tea and he left. What business did he have coming to Raj Bhawan that day? Will he be able to explain that?” Malik asked.
In October last year, the CBI had examined former governor Satya Pal Malik in connection with two cases of corruption registered in Jammu and Kashmir in April 2022, based on allegations levelled by him.
CBI probe into allegations by Malik
In April 2022, the CBI registered the two FIRs in connection with corruption allegations levelled by Malik over awarding of contracts for a group medical insurance scheme and civil work related to the Kiru hydroelectric power project.
In the FIR, the CBI booked Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers Limited as accused.
“…unknown officials of the Finance Department of Government of Jammu and Kashmir by abusing their official position in conspiracy and connivance with Trinity Reinsurance Brokers Ltd, Reliance General Insurance Company Ltd and other unknown public servants and private persons have committed the offences of criminal conspiracy and criminal misconduct,” the FIR alleged.
They caused “pecuniary advantage to themselves and wrongful loss to state exchequer during the period 2017 and 2018 and thereby in this manner cheated the Government of Jammu and Kashmir”, it alleged.
It was alleged in different quarters that there were glaring deviations from the government norms in the contract awarded to Reliance General Insurance like the absence of an online tender, removal of an original condition that the vendor should have experience of working in the state and companies having turnover of Rs 5,000 crore, among others.
In its second FIR pertaining to the alleged malpractices in the award of contract for the civil works package of Kiru hydroelectric power project, the CBI said guidelines related to e-tendering. — (The Print)