‘J&K IAS officer ignores seniors’ calls, sabotages govt processes’

Majid Khalil Ahmad Drabu, a relative of separatist Mirwaiz Umar Farooq, is considered a political appointee.

NEW DELHI | Updated: 07 August, 2023 5:27 pm IST

NEW DELHI: A senior Kashmiri IAS officer, who made his way up allegedly without appearing in any competitive exam, has been accused of indiscipline, and disregarding and sabotaging crucial government processes in Jammu and Kashmir.

IAS officer Majid Khalil Ahmad Drabu is currently serving as the controller of the J&K Metrology Department.

The most recent case of indiscipline, according to state officials, pertains to his efforts to obstruct the resolution process of 19 objections raised by the Controller General of India (CAG) concerning the functioning of the Metrology Department.

If the objections raised during the audit are not addressed in time, they find their way into the final audit report, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report, which is presented before the parliament and could be perceived as instances of irregularities and corruption.

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In the last week of July, while senior officers were in a firefighting mode to resolve objections related to 13 departments by presenting evidence, Drabu chose to ignore repeated phone calls and messages from his superiors. Instead, he sought an explanation for expediting the resolution process.

Frustrated, the J&K Department of Food, Civil Supplies, and Consumer Affairs sent a letter holding him accountable for any unresolved audit objections that might appear in the PAC report.

In his letter, under secretary Sushil Kumar Mattoo said that when Drabu did not return phone calls, his subordinates were contacted. They appointed an official named Rakesh Kumar to ensure smooth coordination. He completed the collection and verification of replies within three days.

As the settlement process was about to commence, IAS officer Drabu called Kumar back to his office without providing any explanation. “Thus, you attempted to disrupt and hinder the collective and dedicated efforts of the Finance Department, Administrative Department, and Principal Accountant General, J&K, for settling all outstanding audit issues,” the letter reads.

Mattoo also accused Drabu of squandering four out of the seven days allotted by senior authorities to complete the process. “Your office spared no effort to further waste the remaining three days out of the seven days provided by authorities by seeking an explanation from the Finance Director for this act of ensuring the submission of replies within a week,” it reads.

Many senior officials in Srinagar and Jammu claim that Drabu has not cleared any examinations organized by the Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission (JKPSC) or the Union Public Service Commission (UPSC).

“He is a political appointee. He obtained the position based on a politician’s recommendation and was elevated to the IAS cadre on the recommendation of IAS officer BVR Subrahmanyam in 2022,” a senior official informed The New Indian.

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Subrahmanyam served as the chief secretary of Jammu and Kashmir when its special status was revoked by parliament on August 5, 2019. He is believed to have influenced government policies on matters concerning J&K.

The official called for an investigation into Drabu’s potential links with anti-peace forces active in the Valley.

Drabu is the brother-in-law of separatist Islamist leader Mirwaiz Umar Farooq. He joined the Industries Department in 1998 during the tenure of then-chief minister Farooq Abdullah. The circumstances of his induction into the now-defunct Kashmir Administrative Service (KAS) remain unclear. Many allege that he entered the civil service due to the influence of his chief engineer father and Mirwaiz Umar Farooq.

Within their inner circles, KAS officers frequently dispute his reputation and accuse him of manipulating his seniority over the 1999-batch KAS cadre.

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