Roshni land scam

The much touted Roshni scheme is gradually getting exposed and the scam in which it is embroiled is coming to light despite efforts by culprits to conceal from judicial authorities as much information as is possible.  This is a scam in which Revenue officials and many others are allegedly involved. The manner in which the scam is being handled at Government level is disappointing. Five FIRs indicating the corrupt practice in five Roshni cases have been registered and probed into and in all probability the irregularity has been established. However , out of five districts where Revenue officials are involved in the scam, the name of only one District Commissioner has been disclosed by the Vigilance officials. No mention of other four District Commissioners has been made and that has been done knowingly because the Organization seems to have deliberate intentions to shield them. This was the plea made by the Counsel on behalf of the petitioner. Casting aspersions on Vigilance Commission, the Counsel for the PIL said that even the Principal Accountant General, J&K in his report had clearly mentioned non-cooperation from several top officials.
Actually it was this newspaper, which, for the first time, reported about irregularities of Roshni scheme and said that Revenue Department officials and others were involved in distorting and violating the rules under which the ownership of the land was to be transferred to various persons. This scheme was meant to raise nearly Rs 25,448 crore to finance power projects by selling over 20.64 lakh kanals of State land under unauthorized occupation but due to blatant misuse of its provisions, the State Government could only realize Rs 76 crore. The Division Bench, hearing this case has examined all the five FIRs lodged in five cases of misuse or violation of the rules governing the implementation of Roshni scheme. We would like to repeat for the sake of record that the land has not been transferred to genuine persons in many cases under this scheme. Either some land has been illegally transferred to those who had no right to own it including the fact that some of them are not even State Subjects, or that the land has been made available on reduced rate thus causing great financial loss to the State exchequer.
One important point to be noted is that while framing the rules there was a lacuna in Rule 24(1) of J&K State Vigilance Commission Rules, 2013 where under the final report along with CD files vis-à-vis five FIRs have been submitted to the Commission by the Vigilance Organization. This Rule is completely silent about the time-frame within which the Commission is required to send back the FIRs to the Vigilance Organization for launch of prosecution against the in-service public servants. Maybe time frame was intentionally left out by the framers of rules. Considering the reports one each of these FIRs, the Division Bench has now ordered the Vigilance Commission to proceed with cases involving the in-service officers alleged to be involved.
Roshni appears to be a classical case of corruption and stupendous effort of covering the scam. It is a glaring case of influential and politically connected persons trying to derive illegal advantage out of their position. Roshni scam has become notorious just because people involved have been trying their hard to conceal it and not reveal the facts. But the people have full faith in the judicial system of the State. The court, as expected, is handling it strictly in accordance with the law of the land, and we are hopeful that culprits in the case will be brought to book.