J&K Deputy CM, Speaker default on loans by J&K Bank, in which state govt has 59% stake, claims Lone

NC MLA Mohammad Akbar Lone took the J&K state assembly by storm on Monday, when he accused BJP leaders Deputy CM Dr Nirmal Singh and Speaker Kavinder Gupta of defaulting on loans from J&K Bank

Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Nitin Kanotra/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Ashutosh Sharma

Can it be a “non-issue” or a “personal issue” for senior government functionaries to default on loans from state-controlled banks? Well, for the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Speaker and Deputy Chief Minister, it indeed is.

National Conference MLA and former Legislative Assembly Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone took the J&K State Assembly by storm on Monday. Lone accused senior state Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders Deputy Chief Minister Dr Nirmal Singh and Legislative Assembly Speaker Kavinder Gupta of defaulting loans from Jammu and Kashmir Bank.

Pertinently, the state government is a major stakeholder in Jammu and Kashmir Bank. It’s stake in the bank rose to 59% after an additional capital infusion of ₹532 crore last year.

Interestingly, the Speaker didn’t let his predecessor speak much, ruling that the House didn’t have jurisdiction over J&K Bank. An agitated Lone though kept pressing for a debate on whether the Assembly had jurisdiction over J&K Bank, or not.

Before staging a walk-out in the Assembly, Lone claimed to have a list of defaulters with him which had names of the Deputy Chief Minister and the Speaker, besides several other high profile leaders of the ruling People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and BJP.

Outside the assembly, Lone told reports that that the purported list had names of many other senior government functionaries who have turned defaulters of J&K Bank. “A debate must have been allowed inside the House as the issue of NPAs of the bank involve public money—which can’t be allowed to be looted by the influential persons,” he said.

Reacting to the allegations, Deputy Chief Minister Dr Singh told a local daily that it was a “routine matter that had been blown out of proportion” by the MLA. “National Conference has no issue to raise in the Assembly. That is why they are raising baseless and personal issues,” Dr Singh said, adding that anyone can avail a bank loan.

Speaker Kavinder Gupta also dismissed the accusations as a “non-issue”.

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Published: 08 Feb 2018, 8:59 PM