At a rather difficult time, something more is brewing against Mayor of Srinagar Junaid Azim Mattu as he braces to face a no-confidence motion moved by Srinagar Municipal Corporation (SMC) Corporators, seeking his ouster from the post. This is the second time that Mattu faces a floor test. And if Mattu loses, former Deputy Mayor Sheikh Mohammad Imran might become the next Mayor of Srinagar. It should be noted that Sheikh Imran was arrested last year in a bank fraud case.
On Thursday, the no-confidence motion was submitted by BJP and Congress Corporators led by Sheikh Imran. They had claimed that the Mayor had lost the majority.
In December last year, Mattu had survived an NCM or no-confidence motion when he proved the majority on the floor of the House. However, before the vote, the then Deputy Mayor Sheikh Imran had resigned.
It's been just six months and Sheikh Imran is at it again. He has got the Corporators with him again and wants to get the coveted title. The move is now being supported by the BJP, Congress and some Corporators.
Imran arrested by the ACB in 2019
In an alleged misappropriation of crores of rupees, Sheikh Imran was arrested by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) in December last year.
He had an NCM passed against him and was removed from the post of the Deputy Mayor. This was due to his arrest and questioning in connection with illegal appropriation of subsidy given to his company for setting up of a Controlled Atmosphere (CA) store.
According to an anti-corruption bureau spokesperson, the ACB investigation had revealed that funds meant for construction of a CA store were diverted.
It was stated that a loan was passed for Sheikh Imran's company Kehwa Group of Rs 138 crore with the JK Bank for a project. And under a well-knit conspiracy, the project was restructured for merely an amount of Rs 78 crore.
When the inquiry was initiated into the matter, it was learnt that there were six more business units owned by the Kehwa Group and Sheikh Imran raised varied loan facilities and overdrafts for these units.
According to the ACB spokesperson, "The liabilities on account of loan accumulated to Rs 138 crore. Since, one of the company Kehwa Square had turned non-performing asset, Imran sought one-time settlement with the JK Bank authorities."