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‘Loot to own’: J&K High Court hands Rs 25,000 crore land scam probe to CBI


Written by Arun Sharma
| Jammu |October 14, 2020 2:06:04 am

Ghulam Nabi Azad

Ordering a CBI probe into the choice of the then J&Ok authorities beneath Ghulam Nabi Azad to switch agricultural land to “farmers” beneath provisions of 2001 Roshni Act – an alleged Rs 25,000 crore land rip-off – the J&Ok Excessive Courtroom has equated the current case with implementation of a “loot to personal” coverage.

“Surprising guidelines stand printed and applied even with out the approval of (State) Legislature, pointing in direction of involvement on the high,’’ a division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal noticed.

In its order on Friday, the bench mentioned, “The injury by the unlawful acts and omissions within the zcase can’t be termed as mere loss to public curiosity, however needs to be handled as a shameless sacrilege and injury to nationwide curiosity…. The responsible should be forthwith recognized and proceeded towards in accordance with regulation’’.

The courtroom declared invalid all transfers of land executed even earlier than the 2018 repeal of the Act, holding that the J&Ok State Land (Vesting of Possession to Occupants) Act, 2001 was “void ab initio from its very inception”. It mentioned the principles framed thereunder in 2007 seem to haven’t any legislative sanction.

In 2007, the Azad authorities had framed guidelines for switch of state land to its allegedly unlawful occupants beneath the Roshni Act.

Solely Rs 100 per kanal (1 kanal is the same as 5445 sq toes) was charged from the unlawful occupants as documentation charge. Beneath the scheme, a significant portion of greater than 3,40,100 kanals out of practically 3,48,200 kanals beneath the Roshni Act was transferred as “agricultural land”.

In 2018, then J&Ok Governor Satya Pal Malik repealed Roshni Act and cancelled all pending functions looking for switch of possession rights. However actions already taken beneath the provisions of the repealed Act weren’t rendered invalid.

In its order, the bench quoted cases of grabbing by three daughters of senior Congress chief and former state minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din to spotlight unauthorised occupation of huge stretches of public land by influential and highly effective folks, allegedly in connivance with senior Income division and Jammu Growth Authority (JDA) officers. It referred to names discovering point out in courtroom information, together with these of senior Congress chief and former minister Raman Bhalla, former Congress MLA Om Chopra, moreover influential businessmen and mediapersons corresponding to Bansi Lal Gupta and Subash Choudhary, amongst others.

The courtroom additionally referred to makes an attempt to protect senior IAS officers Sudanshu Pandey and Hardesh Kumar Singh, allegedly concerned in unlawful switch of JDA land to personal people. The order acknowledged: “That these looters may encourage a laws to facilitate their nefarious design by itself speaks about their insidious and deep penetration into the corridors of energy and authority; concerning the degree and scale of their affect in any respect ranges and suggests involvement of all those that mattered, together with in propounding and implementation of the coverage.

“We’ve got not come throughout any such legislative State motion legitimising legal exercise at the price of nationwide and public curiosity with incalculable loss and injury to the general public exchequer and the setting, with none monetary (or different) impression evaluation.”

Whereas ordering investigations by CBI, the bench directed the company to “`particularly inquire into the matter of publication of Roshni Guidelines, 2007, with out the assent of the Legislature. If that is discovered true, the CBI shall determine the individuals accountable who’ve illegally and dishonestly printed the identical and proceed within the matter for his or her legal legal responsibility.”

The Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Possession to the Occupants) Act, 2001 was enacted by the then Nationwide Convention authorities in 2001 to boost funds for establishing hydel energy tasks in J&Ok by transferring proprietary rights of state land to its unauthorised occupants till 1990, topic to fee of market charges prevalent at the moment.

Nevertheless, the Mufti Sayeed and Ghulam Nabi Azad governments amended the Act in 2004 and 2007, respectively, allegedly to the benefit of encroachers of state land. The method for switch of possession rights of public land to their unauthorised occupants began in 2007, after the then state authorities framed guidelines on implementation of the scheme.

The Roshni scheme subsequently failed to realize its desired outcomes of elevating funds to fund hydel energy tasks.

In 2011, a public curiosity litigation was filed by retired professor S Ok Bhalla, by means of advocate Sheikh Shakeel, alleging large-scale encroachment of state and forest lands throughout the then state. In 2014, following revelations by the CAG in its audit report about large-scale irregularities into switch of state land to personal people beneath Roshni Act, Bhalla he filed one other PIL, looking for vigilance inquiry and motion towards the responsible within the matter.

Giving a twist to the matter, IkkJutt chairman Ankur Sharma, then a Legislation scholar, filed an intervention utility difficult Roshni Act and demanding switch of investigations into all irregularities to the CBI.

The Vigilance Organisation – now the Anti-Corruption Bureau – had registered at the very least 17 FIRs towards many senior authorities officers for allegedly misusing their official place in switch of state land on the famend vacationer resort Gulmarg to some non-public hoteliers.

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