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Kashmir: Azad ousts corrupt minister
Mukhtar Ahmad in Srinagar | September 03, 2007 08:54 IST
Jammu and Kashmir [Images] Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad divested one senior Peoples Democratic Party minister of his portfolio following major complaints.
Sources said the chief minister took the extreme step after he was convinced of the mismanagement by the minister and the managing director of the state forest corporation.
An official statement this evening said, 'As per the government order the portfolio of forest, environment and ecology shall henceforth remain with the chief minister.'
The managing director of the SFC Ijaz Ahmad Khan was also given marching orders and attached with immediate effect.
The minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal is one the senior-most PDP leaders who had been in charge of forest and housing and urban portfolio since November 2005 after the change of guard in coalition government.
He is now left only with housing and urban development portfolio. There have been constant complaints of irregularities in the distribution of timber by the SFC in Kashmir.
Qazi who is alleged to have amassed huge wealth had defeated the opposition National Conference president, Omar Abdullah in the 2002 elections.
After he wowed to fight corruption, this is chief minister Ghulam Nabi Azad's first stern action against a ministerial colleague.
Azad has vowed to weed out corruption in his government and to erase the stigma of Jammu and Kashmir being the second most corrupt state in the country after Bihar.