Satya Pal Malik
Jammu and Kashmir Governor, Satya Pal MalikIANS

Further intensifying the probe into alleged corruption surrounding the Kiru hydropower project, sleuths of the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Thursday conducted searches at the residences of former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik and 29 other locations.

Today's raids were conducted as part of an investigation into alleged corruption surrounding this hydropower project. Quoting sources, some news agencies reported that the search operation commenced in the morning, deploying approximately 100 officers to raid 30 locations across multiple cities.

The probe centers on suspected corruption linked to the awarding of civil contracts for the Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) valued at Rs 2,200 crore.

satyapal malik
File photo: Satya Pal Malik addresses during a programme organised for the distribution of free-to-air Doordarshan set-top boxes to border residents, in Srinagar on June 22, 2019IANS

Ex-J&K Governor leveled charges of corruption

On October 17, 2021, Satya Pal Malik, the then Governor of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir, made allegations of corruption against individuals he referred to as "Ambani" and "a senior RSS functionary."

Malik, who previously held the position of Governor of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir before the abrogation of Article 370, claimed that during his tenure, he received two files—one related to "Ambani" and the other to an "RSS functionary."

Malik, who remained Governor of Jammu and Kashmir between August 23, 2018, and October 30, 2019, claimed he was offered Rs 300 crore for signing two agreements.

Malik said that he was informed by one of the secretaries that these deals were dubious but could yield Rs 150 crore each.

Malik asserted that he declined the offer, stating that he had come to Jammu and Kashmir with five sets of kurta pajamas and intended to leave with the same, implying his commitment to integrity.

He further claimed to have informed Prime Minister Narendra Modi about the situation, with the PM allegedly emphasizing a zero-tolerance approach towards corruption.

During Malik's tenure as the governor of Jammu and Kashmir in October 2018, he annulled the Group Medical Insurance contract for government employees that had been awarded to Reliance General Insurance Company. Malik cited concerns about fraudulent practices associated with the contract as the reason for its cancellation.

CBI has named the former chairman of Chenab Valley Power Projects (P) Ltd, Navin Kumar Chaudhary, along with other former officials M S Babu, MK Mittal, and Arun Kumar Mishra, as well as Patel Engineering Ltd.

The Central Bureau of InvestigationChandan Khanna/AFP/Getty Images

J&K recommends CBI probe into Malik's bribery allegations

Within months after Satya Pal Malik made a startling revelation of corruption, the Jammu and Kashmir government on March 23, 2022, recommended a CBI probe into the allegations.

The J&K government has also approached CBI to probe the award of the contract worth Rs. 2200 crore (approx.) of civil works of Kiru Hydro Electric Power Project (HEP) to a private firm in the year 2019.

CBI had registered two separate cases on the request from the Jammu & Kashmir Government on the allegations of malpractices in the award of a contract of J&K Employees Health Care Insurance Scheme to a private company & release of Rs. 60 crores in the year 2017-18.

"We (the administration) thought over the bribery allegations levelled by former J&K governor Satya Pal Malik. If people of high rank have levelled such allegations, then it needs to be probed," J&K Lt Governor Manoj Sinha had told reporters after announcing the CBI probe in 2022.

He said the administration has recommended a CBI probe into the allegations levelled by the former governor. "The CBI inquiry would make everything crystal clear," he said.