Women Employees Have Accused Hasnain of Taking Sexual Favours As Chairman of Selection-Cum-Oversight Committee, Investigating Agencies Go Slow After His Election to Parliament
Since 2019, Hasnain Masoodi of National Conference is a Member of the Lok Sabha, the lower house of the Parliament. He is now the face for the National Conference in South Kashmir. Masoodi served as the Principal District Judge in Jammu and Kashmir from 2007 to 2009, and a Justice of the Jammu & Kashmir High Court Judge from 2009 to 2016.
In 2017, the government of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir constituted the Selection-Cum-Oversight Committee (SCOC), the apex body for monitoring and evaluation of the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS). Justice Masoodi, a former Judge of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court, was appointed as the Chairman of the committee under the Juvenile Justice (Care and Protection of Children) Act, 2013.
In March 2019, National Conference announced that Justice Masoodi would be its candidate for the Anantnag parliamentary constituency. Masoodi subsequently won the election. Thereafter, Masoodi resigned from SCOC. He subsequently won the Lok Sabha election from the Anantnag constituency.
Highly shocking details have come to light about Hasnain Masoodi pertaining to the time when he was Chairperson of the Selection cum Oversight Committee. According to the confidential complaint made to the top echelons of the UT Administration, Masoodi sexually exploited the young women working with SCOC. He also blatantly broke all rules to derive monetary benefits from the position.
The complaint against Masoodi states that the selection committee headed by Masoodi adopted unprofessional and unethical practices by resorting to corruption and seeking sexual favors from female aspirants.
The complaint states that SCOC has an office in Srinagar and also in Jammu. These offices were converted into hubs of immoral activities by Masoodi and his companions. They used these office premises to exploit young women and also charged money for giving employment in SCOC.
G A Sofi, then State Mission Director of Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) was Masoodi’s partner in crime. According to the complaint, Masoodi and Sofi deputed only women employees in the offices of SCOC at Srinagar and also at Jammu. These women were sexually exploited by Masoodi and company.
As per the complaint, Masoodi’s remuneration for the Chairmanship of SCOC was supposed to be calculated on the basis of his last pay drawn minus pensionary benefits. The complaint stated that Masoodi misinterpreted the Government Order No 180. He drew his salary at par with a sitting High Court judge, viz Rs 3.80 lakh.
Masoodi and company milked this organisation for satisfy their personal interests. For some time, the Mission Director ICPS was Shafqat Sultan. The complaint against Masoodi states that Shafqat tried to take remedial measures so that the ICPS properties would not get financially starved or overburdened due to the malpractices of Masoodi and company. Sultan tried to discontinue occupation of the rented premises at Jammu for the SCOC office. This was because huge liability had accumulated on account of unpaid rent, and could invite serious audit objections. The Mission Director ICPS did not have sufficient budget to pay the rent for the premises.
The complaint against Masoodi states that the Jammu office of SCOC was the hub for Masoodi and company for their immoral activities. In this light, Masoodi used his powerful network to get Shafqat transferred from the role overnight. In turn, Masoodi’s partner in crime GA Sofi was appointed to the post.
The complaint states that no expenses incurred on field work were being paid to the employees even though separate expenditure heads had been provided for it. According to the complaint, even basic requirements of the staff could not be met due to the corrupt practices of Masoodi and GA Sofi. The complaint against Masoodi was filed to former Governor Satyapal Malik, copy of which has been accessed by KZINE. The allegations in the complaint against Masoodi are very grave in nature. They need to investigate on priority.
Shivering, tense and anxious, Justice Masoodi denies allegations
When Justice Hasnain Masoodi (Retd) spoke to me regarding the charges leveled at him, he was breathing heavily and was shivering. Justice Masoodi was visibly tense and anxious and stammered once as he answered the questions.
* Sir, did you indulge in misappropriation of government funds during your tenure as President, Selection-Cum-Oversight Committee?
The drawing and disbursing powers always lie with the DDO of the concerned office. Since I was not a DDO, how can I misappropriate any government fund in SCOC?
* Sir, was the daily running of the office difficult because you had used the office funds for your personal use?
Being Chairman I lacked DDO powers. I did not have anything to do with the funds part in SCOC. Then how could I make the running of the daily affairs of the JJBs (Juvenile Justice Boards) and CWCs (Child Welfare Commitees) difficult? Every committee under my supervision was running smoothly. In some places we were facing minor problems because the committees set up were in infancy stage. They had been set up in J&K for the very first time in the year 2017.
* Sir, did you take bribe from the aspirants who wanted to work with SCOC or other departments in order to provide them with a job? Did you also take sexual favours from women aspirants for this purpose?
No. The allegation is wrong. I did not have any such role for selection. Our role is limited to Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards. Our area of operation was limited. In 1956 Right to Happy Childhood was promised in our constitution but we waited for almost 20 years. Only in 1970, the first Children Act was formed but nothing was done. The structures which were required to be set up were not set up for next 30 years. Then came Juvenile Justice Act in which our role was limited to setting up Child Welfare committee and Juvenile Justice Boards. Difficulty was that the positions are not in a time pay scale and it was only honorarium. So we made all the efforts to have these structures in place and ultimately we succeeded in it.
It was more persuasion and most of the heads are retired deputy commissioners. Former district development commissioners were persuaded to head these committees as their pension will compensate them. The age required for selection was more than 35 years so the youngsters were ineligible for this. Because of the honorarium issue no body was attracted. Even after everything was done, almost 20 committees were left vacant as nobody was willing to join. Right now Child Welfare Committees are headed by Deputy Commissioners, some by individuals who have done PHD, and others by retired persons who were persuaded to join. The rest of the recruitment was not made by SCOC. SCOC was restricted to this only.
I will tell that with this effort we were able to have these Child Welfare Committees and Juvenile Justice Boards for the first time in place in J&K. You will be surprised to know that some of these committees are headed by former Deputy Commissioners. Our role was very limited.
* Sir, did you misinterpret the government order no 180 SW of 2018 dated 06/06/2018 so that you can draw your salary at par with sitting High Court Judge?
The implementation of the Juvenile Justice Act is governed by Hon’ble High Court and Hon’ble Supreme Court Committee on Juvenile Justice and then there is a PIL. So we had to comply with the directions of hon’ble court on judicial side because we were working in close coordination with these committees of hon’ble courts. Every direction was issued by the Hon’ble High Court so there is no question of misinterpreting any order, as everything was being monitored by the Hon’ble High Court.
* Sir, did you sexually exploit the women who were working with the office of the Secretary, Selection cum Oversight Committee and Mission ICPS? Did you employ only those women at these offices who allowed you, Mr GA Sofi and others to exploit them sexually?
Question of exploiting anyone does not arise at all. We have not employed or appointed anyone. It’s a small office and we have all the assistance from District Childhood Committee, office of Mission Director and we were all acting together.
* Sir, did you depute only women employees for the offices of Selection-Cum-Oversight Committee and the Integrated Child Protection Scheme (ICPS) at Srinagar and in Jammu? If yes, what was the purpose of deputing only women for all the official work?
Why should I depute all women staff for the offices of SCOC and ICPS? In child welfare committees as per law there should be at least one female. We were having both male and female staff in these offices as per the need.
* Sir, is it true that Mr Shafqat Sultan, Director ICPS, tried to rationalize the expenditure at the offices of SCOC, but he was transferred overnight at your behest?
All these postings are made by the government and general administration department by the approval of the cabinet. I did not have any role in making such senior-level transfers.