This came to light after the appointment of this year’s topper in the higher judiciary exam was stopped until February, pending CID verification. The candidate is now demanding treatment at par with other officers who were appointed despite past affiliations to militant outfits.
When TOI asked a senior bureaucrat whether there were indeed such officers in service, he confirmed it on condition that he must not be named. He said a civil service officer of the 1996 batch, currently posted in north Kashmir, was a Hizbul Mujahideen militant trained in making improvised explosive devices. His left hand was damaged in a blast.
Likewise, this source added, a senior police officer of the 1999 batch, also in central Kashmir, was a Hizbul man. There are a number of former militants holding posts in subordinate judiciary in Kashmir, he said, and gave instances of engineers in Srinagar Municipal Corporation who were even jailed earlier for abducting their current officers for extortion, etc.
Astonishingly, one officer in the municipal corporation with links to militants was accused of abducting former chief minister and Union minister Ghulam Nabi Azad’s brother-in-law. He is now working in the department with impunity and freedom, a corporation source said.
“All such individuals joined the services before their CID verifications reached the concerned departments,” a senior police officer told TOI. In fact, a former Hizbul militant was arrested at the border trying to cross over to POK for arms training before he appeared in Kashmir Public Service exams in 1999, the source said.
The candidate whose appointment opened this veritable pandora’s box is said to be the former deputy chief of Al-Jehad, responsible for several acts of terror. He topped the exams for the district and sessions judge this year. That is when other candidates challenged his selection owing to his militant past.
A Supreme Court division bench of Justices Aftab Alam and Ranjana Desai vacated the stay, but only in favour of seven respondent candidates. According to sources, one candidate was dropped because his marks were counted twice “inadvertently” to his advantage.
The fate of another candidate, among the top of the list, too, is likely to be determined in February next. It now turns out that another petitioner has submitted an additional application challenging the topper’s selection on account of doubts expressed by the police after his character verification. The candidate is now likely to challenge the verification certificate.