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“Blame Centre If Anything Happens To Me”: Ex J&K Governor On Z+ Cover

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Satyapal Malik was Governor of Jammu and Kashmir when special status was scrapped

New Delhi:

Former Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satyapal Malik has strongly criticised the centre after his Z-plus security cover was withdrawn. Mr Malik was the Governor when the centre scrapped special status to Jammu and Kashmir in August 2019 and divided it into two Union Territories.

Mr Malik said he got to know from the police headquarters that he will no longer have the protection of elite commandos under the Z-plus bracket, which is among the best shields of security a leader in India can have.

“I have just been given a PSO, who has not turned up for the past three days. Anyone can attack me. I am a sitting duck,” Mr Malik told String Reveals, referring to his personal security officer, or PSO.

“All previous Governors of Jammu and Kashmir have good security cover. If anything happens to me, the central government will be responsible for it. When I was the Governor, I only dissolved the assembly in Jammu and Kashmir. Article 370 (under the Constitution) was removed during my tenure,” Mr Malik said.

Mr Malik has had run-ins with the BJP government in the centre over several issues, most prominently his support to farmers during the year-long protest against new farm laws and his allegations that he was offered a Rs 300 crore bribe for clearing two files in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI), which is handling the case, “examined” Mr Malik in October last year to get a clearer picture of his allegations.

Mr Malik had alleged corruption in giving the contract for a group medical insurance scheme for government employees, and civil work worth Rs 2,200 crore linked to Kiru hydroelectric power project in Jammu and Kashmir.

In its first information report (FIR), the CBI named Reliance General Insurance and Trinity Re-Insurance Brokers as accused. In the second case, the CBI is looking into alleged violation of rules for e-tenders.

Mr Malik was appointed Bihar Governor in 2017. He was moved to Jammu and Kashmir in 2018, Goa in 2019 and Meghalaya in 2020. His five-year tenure as Governor, though in different states, ended in October 2022.