J&K Bank’s chief manager Sajad Ahmad Bazaz sacked over ISI connections, was planted to further separatist agenda

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KC NEWS DESK

Jammu and Kashmir Bank on Saturday terminated services of its chief manager Sajad Ahmad Bazaz for being threat to security of state.

An official order issued by MD J&K Bank, reads that the undersigned is satisfied after considering the facts and circumstances of the case contained in the report received from credible agencies, that the activities of Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, Chief Manager, Code no. 4484 posted at Internal Communication and Marketing Department are such as to warrant his dismissal from service under Rule/Provision.
Whereas the undersigned is satisfied under Rule/Provision 12.29 in OSM that in the interest of the security of the State, it is not expedient to hold an enquiry in the case of Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, Chief Manager, Code no. 4484. Accordingly, I hereby dismiss Mr. Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, Chief Manager, Code no. 4484 from service, with immediate effect,” the order reads.

A detailed investigation has revealed the role of the terminated employee in furthering secessionist ideology and his alleged links with terrorists and Pakistan spy agency ISI.
Sajad Ahmad Bazaz was at the pinnacle of his career. A skilled writer, he was appointed as Cashier-cum-Clerk in 1990 and later promoted in 2004 as a head, internal communication of J&K Bank, a public sector entity owned by the J&K Government.

“The current bank management seemed to have no clue that Bazaz was one of the most important Pakistani assets, secretly working for ISI and terror Outfits,” the investigation revealed.

It said after abrogation of article 370, the top investigators were probing link of deep ISI assets within the terror ecosystem and Bazaz name popped up. After month’s long painstaking investigation they were in for surprises.
The investigators said that Sajad Ahmad Bazaz, originally a resident of Batamaloo Srinagar,was planted in J&K Bank in 1990 by Pakistan ISI through Fayaz Kaloo, owner and the Editor of Greater Kashmir.

Sajad’s appointment was on the post of Cashier-cum-Clerk. In 2004 he was suddenly given a jump to a position that was highly suspicious but it did not raise any eyebrow because of the then larger and deeper subversion in the system.

“Sajad was an embedded asset of the terrorist-separatist networks working on behalf of ISI. In his write ups in the Greater Kashmir, a newspaper that has been proved to be the single most important vehicle of terror narrative and leveraged its influence to create, nurture and sustain terror assets on behalf of the ISI and terror outfits in other institutions and organisations including the government. It is pertinent to note that Sajad has been an intrinsic and inseparable part of Greater Kashmir since its inception in the early 1990s,” the Investigators said.

Sources also confirmed that Sajad Ahmad Bazaz while being a full-time employee of J&K Bank was also a full-timer with Greater Kashmir as a correspondent-cum-columnist. This is open knowledge and known to all.

Evidence collected by the agencies suggests that Sajad Ahmad Bazaz did not have honest intentions as a parallel employee of Greater Kashmir can be seen in the different names under which he wrote and publish.

“Initially he used ‘Sajjad Ahmad’ as his penname. He cleverly added one additional ‘j’ and also dropped his surname ‘Bazaz’. Later with passage of time he got emboldened when neither his employer nor the law of the land could take cognizance of his wrongdoings,” they said.
Almost all of his news stories and columns are centered around justifying and glorifying the secessionist-terrorist campaign in J&K. While some are subtle others are thinly veiled. Sajad through his ground reporting and opinion pieces published in his weekly columns titled ‘Off The Record’ and ‘What’s Up’ in Greater Kashmir, toed the Pakistani line of UN intervention in Kashmir, tripartite talks and human rights violations.

The investigators said he used to peddle false narrative of the adversary and tried to sow the seeds of doubt to instigate people against the security forces. “He has authored numerous such write-ups and opinion pieces in Greater Kashmir that support the Pakistan ISI and Terror Outfits narrative on Kashmir.”

On the subject of the circumstances in which Sajad Ahmad Bazaz was lifted from the chair of a clerk to that of a gazetted equivalent post of Editor, specially created for him, sources said that on 20 October 2003, a proposal for creating a post of Editor in J&K Bank was placed before the Board of Directors of J&K Bank and was got approved.

“The following tell-tale aberrations underline that his appointment to the post of Editor was part of a subversion. Even before the approval of the proposal by the Board, the bank had already four days before, by way of an internal communication on 16 October 2003 invited applications from the cadre of Cashier-cum-Clerks to apply for the newly created post of Editor.

The eligibility norms were tailored to bring in Sajad Ahmad Bazaz. Firstly, the provision of a written test was waived off. Secondly, the catchment was restricted to the category of cashier-cum-clerk cadre to give an undue advantage to Sajad.

“In itself, this is a matter of criminal investigation wherein an officer grade post was not advertised and opportunity was not provided to members of general public to compete for the post. Thirdly, despite the best efforts to manipulate things in favour of Sajad, the adversary failed to erase footprints,” the Investigators said.

In the original scheme of things a requirement had been put in: the candidate should have publications pertaining to banking and finance.

“Sajad at the time of his selection had none to his credit. (He wrote some article on this much later to cover up).

“Fourthly, the officer cadre employees having qualification of mass communication and journalism and who were superior candidates were kept out of competition (it is mentionable that qualification of mass communication and journalism was made a criteria for selection to this post of Editor).

Fifthly, and importantly a statutory rule (Rule No.323) of the bank pertaining to Officers Recruitment, Discipline, Conduct and Appeal Rules-2000 was completely ignored.

The rule stipulates that direct recruitment of officers outside the normal cadre in the junior management grade for possessing any special knowledge or qualification not available in the bank officers service if made by the competent authority directly out of candidates possessing such special knowledge or qualification if are to be absorbed in the normal cadre of officers service shall be mandatorily required to pass CAIIB examination.

“Sajad Ahmad Bazaz in gross violation of this statutory provision is the only officer in the entire history of J&K Bank who was extended a silent concession. He till date has not passed this examination and yet has not only been absorbed in the general officers cadre but given three promotions by diverting posts from the general cadre to a ‘one man cadre’ only to benefit him,” they added.

“Despite open knowledge that Sajad was a full time employee of Greater Kashmir even when he was on the rolls of J&K Bank, the interview board comprising the then Chairman of the Bank M.Y Khan, Director Haseeb Drabu, Chief General Manager P.Z Lateef and Deputy General Manager M.A Shah selected Sajad from among a very small group of four on the basis of an interview.

“The Board also ignored that he was rabidly against the Indian state and an open secessionist. In this context, the stranglehold and penetration of the adversary into the J&K Bank is in itself a matter of comprehensive enquiry,” they said.

The subsequent conduct of Sajad Ahmad Bazaz after having been placed in the chair of ‘Editor’ – a position specially created for him in J&K Bank further shows conspiracy and subversion.

“He empowered with the new authority enriched select local newspapers and news magazines through payment of advertisement money drawn from the coffers of J&K Bank.”

“It is relevant to mention that he owes his selection and placement as Editor in the bank to a clique and coterie, of which he eventually became an important member, who had infiltrated into the governmental system to further the secessionist-terrorist campaign at the behest of Pakistan ISI.”

He also used the opportunity also to enrich himself. It is astounding that the management ignored the open clash of interest wherein an employee of Greater Kashmir was also an employee of J&K Bank and in the capacity of the latter he was benefiting Greater Kashmir by sanctioning advertisement money.

“The data pertaining to advertisement money paid from financial year 2015 to 2023 shows that Greater Kashmir has got disproportionately a higher and favourable allotment than all others including newspapers at par with it in terms of reach and circulation,” the investigation revealed.

“It is very relevant to bring on record that in and around 2010-12 there was a sudden spurt of rabidly pro-Pakistan news magazines and newspapers other than Greater Kashmir.

“Discreet investigation has revealed that this is in a major way attributable to Sajad Ahmad Bazaz. What really happened is Sajad who actually had been planted by the adversary in the current position in J&K Bank through Fayaz Kaloo was instructed from across the border to help in setting up additional media platforms that would amplify and echo the jehadi and Pak narrative already being propagated by Greater Kashmir in a far more vicious and vitriolic manner,” sources said.

Investigators said the evidence of this is amply available when the circumstances in which Hayat Bhat set up ‘Kashmir Reader’ and ‘Kashmir Conveyor’, Haroon Reshi set up ‘Kashmir Narrator’ (news magazine) and Rashid Ahmad set up ‘Honour’ (news magazine).

“There are two most striking common features of these news magazines / newspapers: firstly, any casual or cursory reading any of the pages of any of the issues would instantly reveal that the content is all about propaganda and secondly, all were supported by Sajad through channeling J&K Bank’s money by placing advertisements.

Actually each of these projects received seed money to start the venture from Pakistan.

“Hayat Bhat received Rs two crores from the ISI station head located in the Pakistani High Commission in New Delhi. Sajad Bazaz helped in whitewashing this money through the channels of the J&K Bank where Hayat Bhat had accounts pertaining to his cover business of an advertising agency under the name and style of Helpline Advertising Services.”

A relevant trivia as per intelligence inputs, the Rs two crore that Hayat Bhat took was initially offered to Rashid Ahmad (a JeI ideologue, and former publicity chief of Hizbul Mujahideen). Rashid Ahmad developed cold feet in accepting this at that point of time,” Investigators said.

“It is relevant to bring on record that in brazen violation of rules and norms typically seen in scores of cases where the interests of the terrorist-separatist networks were involved, the governmental financial support to media platforms conditional to clearance of DIPR empanelment, all these news magazines and newspapers mentioned above obtained financial support from J&K Bank without having been empanelled by DIPR.

“Question is: how did these news magazines and newspapers functioned without DIPR assistance. The answer is: Sajad Ahmad Bazaz who opened up the coffers of J&K Bank,” sources added.

“Interestingly, as would happen in real life, jealousy and rivalry broke out between the elements within the terror ecosystem over who is more close to Pakistan and also who would corner the spoils of the proceeds of the businesses that came to be owned during the course of the terrorist-secessionist campaign.”

“Fayaz Kaloo ran into Hayat Bhat over advertisement hoarding and billboard business which they had come to own with the support of the adversary and the leverage the adversary had within the local government.”

Intelligence inputs show that Abu Qasim a dreaded Pakistani LeT terrorist operating in South Kashmir in 2010-15 was enlisted by Hayat Bhat for supporting his interests against Fayaz Kaloo.

“This explains as to how and why Fayaz Kaloo despite being a far bigger weight in conventional sense loosing this round to Hayat Bhat. The latter retained his control over the hoarding business. In this episode Sajad Ahmad Bazaz too sided with Hayat Bhat as most hoarding advertisement of J&K Bank went to Hayat Bhat.”

“Several terrorist outfits during 1990s had placed their representatives in Press colony Srinagar, designated by them as ‘Publicity Chiefs’ like Rashid Ahmad as mentioned before and many such people camouflaging as journalists were actually active terrorists or important senior functionaries of terror outfits.”

Sajad Ahmad Bazaz worked shoulder to shoulder with such elements in Greater Kashmir for the common objective of popularizing and amplifying pro-Pakistan narrative and spreading falsehood against the Indian state.

“One such example is that of Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmad aka Sheen Meem Ahmad originally from Lal Bazaar, Srinagar, who along with Late Advocate Ghulam Nabi Hagroo (a JeI ideologue and one of the founders of HM terror outfit) and Advocate Mian Abdul Qayoom (secessionist ideologue) drafted Hizbul Mujahideen Penal Code (Tazizaat-e-Hizbul Mujahideen), which would be put in operation by HM terrorists to punish innocent civilians on pretext of violating this code and also so called Islamic code of conduct (sharia), meaning death penalty.”

Many self-styled judicial authorities (Shariat-boards) owing allegiance to JeI/HM came up in the length and breadth of Kashmir valley to enforce HM’s Penal Code imposing brutal penalties on innocent citizens.

Sheikh Mukhar Ahmad while being affiliated with HM outfit running its propaganda wing Hizb Media Centre, was working as a staffer of Greater Kashmir.

“Another such entity working in Greater Kashmir those days was Pakistani trained HM terrorist Lateef Bhat of Kadipora, Anantnag who was also affiliated with HM and its propaganda cell and worked for Greater Kashmir on behalf of HM outfit from Srinagar as well as from Pakistan occupied J&K filing stories for Greater Kashmir from Pakistan with the byline ‘Abdul Latief’. The duo as per available intelligence records was duly supported by Sajad Bazaz who had formed a very close group,” sources said.

Sheikh Mukhtar Ahmad and Lateef Bhat both escaped from India, managing passports in lieu of money with Sheikh presently based in London and Malik in Brussels. Both continue to peddle anti-India narrative and are very important assets of ISI in Europe.

“Sajad Ahmad Bazaz has been widely known to be a close associate of both of them and the trio had formed a small group often been seen together working, living and dining. He has also been a close associate of Zaheer-ud-Din, who worked as Associate Editor for Greater Kashmir and is publicly known as pro-Pakistan strong man in journalism having written volumes of propaganda material against India,” the investigators added.

The evidence shows how several elements of the secessionist-terror ecosystem are connected with each other and working in institutional frameworks that has respectability and their inter-connection in which the common thread passes through Sajad Ahmad Bazaz sometimes directly and sometimes indirectly.

It is interesting to note that Sajad Ahmad Bazaz owns and operates as many as 68 accounts within the J&K Bank alone.

“Now, enters another ISI and terror asset in picture. His name is Shabir Bukhari. He continues to be in touch with the terror elements operating from Pakistan even today.

“Shabir Bukhari is communicating with the adversary through Manzoor Hussain Peer (cell No.84xxx0xx6). Manzoor Peer is directly in touch with Pakistan based Jaish-e-Mohammad (JeM) leadership. He is also in touch with ISI through user of mobile number 80xxx5xxx8 who in turn speaks to the user of mobile number 99xxx0xxx6 (administrator of a WhatsApp group of terrorists operating under banner of ‘Kashmir Front’.

“The conversations are through VoIP based end-to-end encrypting messaging service called Telegram. It is relevant to note that just as Shabir Bukhari is the second most contacted person of Sajad Bazaz, his most contacted person after his wife is Sajad,” investigation revealed.

“Sajad Ahmad Bazaz is a critical component of the overall terror ecosystem carefully nurtured by the ISI and terror outfits. And the most defining feature of this ecosystem is to try and maintain an air-gap (by layering) between gun wielding terrorists and the entire paraphernalia that supports and protects these terrorists in a variety of ways.

“These include creating and providing popular legitimacy through a combination of the fear of gun and propagation of false narrative, obstructing and subverting rule of law through bar associations and advocates when the law enforcement attempts to book them and take the matter to legal conclusion, arrange strategic logistics such as finances and tactical logistics such as SIM cards, phones, transport, food, medical attention, hideouts, information about law enforcement agencies and security forces, parallel intelligence network to identify and kill all those who try to expose the terrorists and their ecosystem.”

Sources saod Sajad Ahmad Bazaz is in frequent communication with another lynchpin of this terror ecosystem namely Shabir Hussain Buch of Srinagar (93xxxx5xx3).

“Shabir Buch is a known close associate of Mushtaq Latram, chief of Al-Umar terror outfit and a constituent member of UJC and a close associate of Masood Azhar, the JeM chief.

Latram and Masood are operating from Pakistan. Shabir Buch’s connection with the Pakistani High Commission in Delhi has always been a matter of concern. He was one among the key facilitators in embedding Carin Jodha Fischer an American citizen of German origin. After operating for about 10 years in J&K, her cover came to be blown as a deep asset of ISI subsequent to which she was deported forcibly,” they added.

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