After ACB, CBI; ED to crackdown on Roshni scamsters in J&K

STFs set up in Delhi, major action on cards
Attachment of illegally raised properties likely

Sanjeev Pargal

JAMMU, Sept 20: The Enforcement Directorate is now set to crackdown on high profile accused in Roshni scam as its headquarters has finalized list of prominent scamsters who include political leaders, bureaucrats, businessmen among others, in Jammu and Kashmir.
“Initially, the Enforcement Directorate has reportedly decided to summon the accused to New Delhi headquarters which will be followed by attachment of property wherever necessitated,” highly placed sources told the Excelsior.
Investigations in Roshni scam are presently being conducted by the Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI).
“A large number of high profile persons including bureaucrats, politicians and businessmen are involved in Roshni scam,” sources said
The Enforcement Directorate is understood to have set up Special Task Forces (STFs) for investigations in the scam. Three teams of the STF are likely to reach Jammu and Kashmir shortly, sources disclosed.
The accused are reported to have raised bungalows, hotels, shopping complexes and other big structures on the Roshni land, sources said and don’t rule out the possibility of attachment of properties in the cases where illegal constructions are established during investigations.
Some prominent politicians and bureaucrats including IAS officers are also involved in the scam.
Asserting that there was nothing unusual in the Enforcement Directorate acting in the case which is being investigated by the CBI, sources said this will add further impetus to the investigations.
“Many leaders and bureaucrats are under ED scanner. Roshni Scam involved huge sum as only Rs 76 crore were generated against Rs 25000 crore target. Illegal occupants of Government land were given ownership rights under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, popularly known as the ‘Roshni’ Act. It was introduced by Dr Farooq Abdullah Government in 2001. Scheme was named Roshni as money generated was to be used for up-gradation of power generation in Jammu and Kashmir,” sources said.
Initially, the CBI had taken over three cases related to Roshni scam. Presently, 11 First Information Reports (FIRs) have been registered in the case.
First, the Roshni scam was handed over to the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), then known as the Vigilance Organization, and later to the CBI. However, as per sources, the CBI will continue investigations in the case.
The agency had registered three separate cases and taken over investigations begun by the then Vigilance Organisation of Jammu.
The first case was against unknown officials of Jammu’s Revenue Department and alleged that they conferred “undue benefits upon illegal occupants of State land” and, therefore, inflicted “huge monetary loss to the State exchequer”.
The second, also against unknown officers of the department in Samba district and alleged that they too had conferred “undue pecuniary benefits upon illegal occupants of State land”. It also alleged that land was allotted at incorrectly-fixed prices and, “in many cases (the amount) was not remitted to the Government treasury, thereby causing huge loss to the State”.
The third case was against a private individual in Jammu’s Gandhi Nagar as well as unknown Revenue department officials from Jammu and unknown others.
In 2018, then Governor Satya Pal Malik repealed the Act and cancelled all pending applications.