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Government to probe 'fake' Padma awardee
Onkar Singh in New Delhi | January 29, 2009 00:31 IST
Last Updated: January 29, 2009 11:59 IST
Rashtrapati Bhavan [Images] has ordered a probe in the Hashmat Ullah Khan controversy who had been conferred the Padma Shri award from the state of Jammu and Kashmir [Images]. Investigations have shown that there is no person named Hashmat Ullah Khan.
"We do not know how this happened. How is possible that the name was not recommended by the state government got the award. The Union home ministry finally scans the entire list," a top Rashtrapati Bhavan official told rediff.com on Wednesday.
Khurshid Gani, principal secretary to Jammu &Kashmir chief minister confirmed that the state government has not sent the name. Hashmat Ullah Khan is the only name, which figures in the list of prestigious Padma awardees this year from Jammu and Kashmir.
Nobody seems to know who the man in question is and how his name got recommended. Worse still nobody knows where Khan lives. According to Rashtrapati Bhavan records he is the author of several books. The only man who wrote such a book on Jammu and Kashmir died six decades ago.
Since Sunday when the names for Padma awardees were announced, media persons searching for information about the awardee, have met the blank stares, in response to any query pertaining to Khan.
When Prof Hashmatullah Khan was contacted, he averred, "Certainly I've not been conferred any award. I've not received any intimation on this account." Yet whether he has any artistic or literary background, in response to this query, his answer was, "No, I don't have any such background." However, Secretary Jammu and Kashmir Academy of Art, Culture and Languages, Zafar Manhas, when contacted immediately after the announcement of awards, stated that he could only comment after proper verification.
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