Special messengers delivered sealed cover letters containing orders of forced retirement to the government officials at their places of posting/residences across the state late yesterday evening.

Official sources said that the list of 'highly tainted' government officials had been given to Chief Minister Mufti Muhammad Sayeed by a committee headed by Chief Secretary Muhammad Iqbal Khanday.

"The process to cleanse the administration was started the day the new government took over on March 1. It is a continuous process which will continue to send across a strong message that civil servants are to serve the people and not to rob them," said a senior minister of the Jammu-centric Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Kashmir Valley-based Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) coalition government.

Sources said that those retired forcibly from their services include some state administrative service officers, engineers and lower rung officials. Same sources said that retrenchment orders served to these officials also contained cheques for three months of retrenchment emoluments.

"All of these officials have cases pending with the state vigilance pertaining to accumulation of assets disproportionate to their known sources of income," a source said.

The government is likely to hold a press conference later on Wednesday to share details of the anti-graft move with the media.

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