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State defends Kashmir chief minister’s advisor

Jammu, March 4 (IANS) The Jammu and Kashmir government Thursday defended Chief Minister Omar Abdullah’s advisor Mubarak Gul, who is caught in a controversy over allotment of a six-episode fictional serial for Doordarshan.

In a letter, placed in the state assembly, the Prasar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation, New Delhi, said that Gul has ‘neither signed a contract nor any payment has been made to him’.

The letter was read out by Speaker Mohammad Akbar Lone in the house.

Gul was selected as one of the producers by Doordarshan for allotment of a Rs.18-lakh contract for producing a serial in June last year.

This revelation caused a great deal of embarrassment for Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, as his rivals, particularly the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), sought to make an issue of it.

‘This is straight corruption and violates the established constitutional provisions,’ said PDP legislator Sayeed Mansoor Hussain. He raised the issue in the assembly Wednesday.

After the letter was placed on the table of the house, Gul and political advisor to chief minister D.S. Rana addressed a joint press conference.

Gul said he had not received any contract so far.

‘I am associated with audio-visual media for long and this was wrong to suggest that I have done something new or attempted to violate my duties as an MLA (legislator).’

Rana said that the letter by Doordarshan, Delhi, was received in response to a letter written to the Prasar Bharti Broadcasting Corporation by the chief minister’s office.

‘This should now put the whole controversy to rest,’ Rana said.

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