Several high profile politicians, bureaucrats, businessmen figure in list of encroachers

Centre, UT administration closely monitoring investigation

Neeraj Rohmetra

Jammu, Nov 23: Centre is closely monitoring the investigation by the premier investigating agency into the multi-crore Roshni scam and issued clear guidelines that none including the high-profile politicians, bureaucrats and well-connected businessmen should be spared. Besides, directions have also been issued to the J&K administration by Centre and LG’s office to expedite investigations into all high-profile cases of illegal encroachments, which don’t fall into the ambit of Roshni scam.
Reliable official sources said, “the directions were issued after the UT administration brought to the notice of Centre that investigation into most of such cases was pointing to people, who had access to the corridors of power in Jammu and Kashmir and were well-connected to the ruling parties of the erstwhile State” adding “the Rs 25,000 crore Roshni could well turn out to be the biggest fraud in collusion with political leadership of J&K”.
Prominent political leaders whose names have surfaced in the on-going investigation by CBI, included former Finance Minister, Haseeb Drabu who bought one kanal land in Gogjibagh, Srinagar. Though the price fixed was Rs 40 lakh per Kanal, Drabu got a rebate of Rs 32.50 lakh and paid only seven and a half lakh rupees for the land.
Besides his mother Shahzada Banoo, two brothers — Ajaz Hussain Drabu and Iftikhar Ahmad Drabu also took one kanal land in Gogjibagh at the same price. Out of Rs 1 crore 60 lakh which was the total price of the land bought by the Drabu family, they paid only Rs 30 lakh.
Family members and close relatives of late Lala Tirath Ram Amla, who had easy access to the corridors of powers in Delhi, when Indira Gandhi was Prime Minister, have also been the major beneficiaries of Roshni Scheme. His son – K K Amla, who is Congress treasurer and famous hotelier, has obtained 11 kanals of State land and the family had raised Broadway hotel on the same land on Maulana Azad Road in Srinagar. The price fixation committee fixed its value at Rs 11 crore. The Amlas enjoyed a rebate of Rs 8.52 crore and got its ownership rights under the Roshni Act against the payment of Rs 2.48 crore.
Other relatives of the Amla family, who got land at throwaway prices, included Ranchna Amla, Veena Amla and Faqir Chand Amla – all of whom have been allotted one kanal of prime land at Rajbagh Srinagar.
Prominent Hotelier Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya in two separate cases regularised 5 kanals, eight marlas and 4 kanal, 16 marlas in Gogjibagh, Srinagar. Notwithstanding the price fixed for this prime land, Chaya paid only one-fourth of the actual price.
Former senior bureaucrats Dr Tanveer Jahan and Mohd Shafi Pandit are too among the list of beneficiaries. Shafi Pandit and his wife – Nighat Pandit have got regularised one kanal of prime land in Gogjibagh area of Srinagar.
Syed Muzaffar Aga, who served as Chief Secretary during the NC Government in 1978-80 and was Indian Ambassador to South Korea, has also got regularised 2 kanals and 1 marla of prime land on the river Jhelum bank at Lalmandi.
Several prominent politicians and businessmen from Jammu have also figured in the list of beneficiaries and had got proprietary rights of several kanals of land in Chowadhi area. They included family members of former National Conference Legislator – Satpal Lakhotra. Two kanals and 13 marlas of land in Chowadhi has been regularised in the name of his family members – Bua Ditta, Devi Ditta, Rampal and Satpal himself.
Another business family of Jammu comprising some Government employees – Naru Ram, Beli Ram, Shallo Ram, Ram Dass and Ram Lal had got regularised 38 kanals and five marlas of land in Chowadhi areas.
“LG administration has also issued directions to the Revenue Department to expedite the cases of illegal encroachments other than Roshni scam, which involves such high profile personalities as several directions in this context had also been issued by the Chief Justice, Gita Mittal”, sources remarked.
Sources said initial investigation of revenue records had revealed names of several formers Ministers affiliated with National Conference (NC) and Congress party. “Investigation had revealed illegal encroachment by former NC Minister Sajjad Kitchloo and Tanveer Kitchloo and others on nearly 20 kanals of prime land in Sunjwan area”.
Names of other political leaders affiliated with NC, which have surfaced during investigation included Syed Akhoon (one kanal), former Advocate General Aslam Goni (one kanal) and Haroon Choudhary (two kanals) in Sunjwan area.
“Former J&K Bank Chairman M Y Khan who was known for his close proximity to former Chief Minister, Farooq Abdullah has also figured in the list for ‘encroaching’ one kanal of land at Sunjwan area. Former Congress Minister, Abdul Majid Wani has ‘illegal occupied’ three kanals of State land at Sunjwan”, reveals the list available with Revenue Department.
“Astonishingly, in all these cases, the State land has been illegally occupied by the politicians and bureaucrats but mutations aren’t reflected in Revenue records”, sources asserted.