‘We will draw adverse inference’, says Chief Justice
All Review Petitions to be heard on day-to-day basis
JAMMU, May 23: In a shocking revelation, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has informed the Division Bench of the High Court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Moksha Khajuria Kazmi that the Revenue Department of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is not furnishing the names of the big-wigs, who were involved in the infamous Roshni land scam thereby creating impediments in the registration of more FIRs.
Taking serious note of this, the Chief Justice, in an open court, remarked, “we will draw adverse inference in case the Revenue Department fails to provide required information to the CBI in response to the numerous communications already sent to the concerned authorities”.
Today, when the review petitions against the judgment passed by the DB headed by the then Chief Justice Gita Mittal whereby Roshni Scheme was declared ultra-vires and CBI inquiry was ordered into the scam, came up for hearing before the Division Bench at Srinagar through the virtual mode, Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal, said that the review petitions will be heard on day-to-day basis with effect from June 28, 2022 and accordingly necessary directions were passed to the Registry in the open court.
Pointing towards the directions dated October 9, 2020 whereby premier investigating agency of the country was directed to file Action Taken Report after every eight weeks, the Standing Counsel for the CBI, Advocate Monika Kohli informed the Division Bench that pursuant to these directions the CBI has registered 17 FIRs in the Roshni land scam and filed nine Action Taken Reports. The latest was submitted on April 28, 2022 in a sealed cover.
The Standing Counsel said that Division Bench in its order dated October 9, 2020 had issued directions to the CBI for taking action against all the big-wigs, who were involved in the scam, but the Revenue Department of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir is not extending necessary cooperation in this regard.
“The CBI has written 14 letters to the Revenue Department seeking details and information about the big-wigs and influential persons who were involved in the infamous scam but there is no response from the concerned authorities as a result of which the premier investigating agency of the country is facing difficulty in registration of further FIRs and ensuring compliance of the directions of the Division Bench headed by the then Chief Justice”, she further submitted.
On this, Advocate General D C Raina, who was present before the Division Bench in Srinagar, submitted that entire data relating to the Roshni Scam is available on the website of the Revenue Department and the CBI can obtain the same from there for initiating action against whosoever involved in the scam.
However, the CBI Standing Counsel stated that had the information been readily available the CBI would not have dashed 14 communications to the Revenue Department of J&K Government. Later, Advocate General assured the Division Bench that Revenue Department will give all the written compilations to the CBI for its perusal and necessary action.
Taking serious note of the submissions made by the Standing Counsel of the CBI, the Chief Justice, in the open court, remarked, “It is really a matter of concern that there is no response to the 14 communications of the CBI”, adding “we will draw adverse inference if the Revenue Department fails to provide required information to the Investigating Agency”.
It is pertinent to mention here that vide its judgment dated October 9, 2020, the Division Bench headed by the then Chief Justice Gita Mittal had directed that the Revenue Secretary shall furnish each and every detail relating to the Roshni scam along with the copies of the supporting records to the CBI in the digitized format, and, if requested, hard copies thereof be also provided.
“Translation of records, wheresoever required, shall be expeditiously ensured by the concerned Deputy Commissioner from the Tehsildars and provided to CBI within one week of the need being noticed/informed and in case, the directions are not complied with, the Secretary Revenue and the Divisional Commissioners of Jammu and Kashmir shall be held liable and proceeded against for Contempt of Court”, the DB had mentioned in the order.
The report is based on the oral and open court observations made by the Division Bench.