Srinagar: For once, a minister has been penalised for alleged corruption. Hilal Ahmed, the son of Jammu and Kashmir Finance Minister Abdul Rahim Rather, has been fined Rs 21 lakh for electricity theft after CNN-IBN uncovered documents that clearly showed that Ahmed's software company at a multi-storey complex drew more power than it actually paid for.
The documents showed that the company drew 95 kilowatts, but dues were paid for only 5 kilowatts.
While Rather flatly denied the allegations, the Opposition tried to corner Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on his intent to take action against influential people from his own Cabinet.
Hilal said, "I am from a political family and someone is trying to malign our image. They have done it in the past too but failed."
People's Democratic Party (PDP) spokesperson Nayeem Akthar, however, said, "We want the Chief Minister to enforce strict accountablity in this case and all other cases. He has stolen money of the state exchequer and that should be recovered from him."
Omar, meanwhile, tried to play the episode down. He said that facts had been twisted to suit an agenda.
In almost all his public rallies, Omar has been dissuading people from stealing power and the need to pay electric bills honestly. Being the Power Minister of the state, he must now deliver a message straight and bang on, irrespective of who the defaulter is.