Taj booked, CBI lodges 8 FIRs, PEs; more prominent persons to be named in cases

Retd DIG, showroom owner, ex officials among encroachers

Ex PDP Minister’s son got 5 kanals land for Rs 600

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Nov 26: Former Cabinet Minister in NC-Congress coalition Government Taj Mohi-ud-Din has become first high profile politician to be booked by the CBI in land encroachment while the investigating agency has registered eight FIRs and Preliminary Enquires (PEs) in Roshni case in which names of more political leaders, their kin, former bureaucrats, businessmen etc could figure shortly.

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A list of 2500 Roshni beneficiaries and encroachers in the UT was released today. Another list of five persons including a businessman and three retired officers who have physically encroached State land-other than Roshni-which hasn’t been shown in the revenue records was also released.
The encroachers include Owais Ahmed, who runs Shuhul Automobile Showroom and has encroached upon two kanals of land for showroom, Khalid Durani, retired DIG, who has grabbed three kanals of the State land for residence, Sultan Ali, retired Forest officer, who is in possession of nine kanals of Government land for residence/shop and Qamar Ali, retired DFO, who possessed one kanal State land for residence. All these encroachments have taken place at Channi Rama on the outskirts of Jammu City.
Jamat Ali, Lamberdar Dungan has encroached eight kanals of the State land for residence at Sunjwan.
The administration has already released names of number of influential politicians, former bureaucrats, businessmen etc who have encroached upon the Government land under Roshni or otherwise.
Meanwhile, the CBI today booked former Cabinet Minister Taj Mohi-ud-Din in connection with alleged illegal regularization of encroached forest land in his name under the Roshni Act.
Taj, who represented Uri Assembly constituency in Baramulla district in 2002 and 2008 and remained Cabinet Minister in PDP-Congress as well as National Conference-Congress Governments, is presently contesting the District Development Council (DDC) election from Uri on Congress mandate.
Along with Mohi-ud-Din, the CBI has also booked Mohammad Ramzan Thakur, former Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Mohammed Yousuf Zargar, the then Additional Deputy Commissioner, Hafizullah Shah, the then Assistant Commissioner Revenue and Ghulam Hassan Rather, the then Tehsildar, sources said.
They said the CBI received a complaint from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) which is now part of the FIR.
The then Tehsildar Shopian had processed and placed 190 cases of vesting of ownership rights to the occupants of State land before a committee chaired by Thakur on June 16, 2007. The committee approved only 17 of them including over 13 kanals of land which was allegedly illegally encroached upon by Mohi-ud-Din.
It is alleged that the land encroached upon by Mohi-ud-Din belonged to the Forest department which had raised objections to its regularization under the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act also known as the Roshni Act.
The objections were allegedly ignored by the committee which had told the Forest department that the matter had been disposed of and their objections did not serve any purpose.
The Divisional Forest Officer of the area had again raised objection to regularization under the Roshni Act and returned the file.
“The concerned public servants of Revenue department have by commission of illegal acts processed, prepared and approved the illegal claim of the beneficiary Taj Mohi-ud-Din over the said land which belongs to the Forest department thereby paved the way for conferment of undue pecuniary advantage to said beneficiary…,” the complaint said.
Among the 20 beneficiaries in Ganderbal district, Tipoo Sultan, a contractor and son of former PDP minister Qazi Mohammad Afzal, legalised his five kanal and 17 marlas of land by depositing Rs 600 under the Roshni Act, the list claimed.
Afzal had defeated Omar Abdullah from Ganderbal seat in 2002 election and remained Cabinet Minister in PDP-Congress coalition Government headed by Mufti Sayeed and later Ghulam Nabi Azad.
The administration has also released another list of over 2,500 people who have either availed land under the Roshni Act or encroached state land.
While 2,195 of them were named in various lists related to Roshni Act and encroached land released by the divisional administration of Jammu concerning different tehsils of the district, the lists released in Kashmir named 335 beneficiaries of the Roshni scheme covering eight districts.
Another list covering those who have encroached upon the state land, either recorded or not recorded in revenue records, released by the divisional administration of Jammu included 3,435 names. Most of them have usurped thousand of kanals of land in different parts of Jammu district.
As many as 1,425 people, mostly farmers, were named in the list of encroachers of state land in Bhalwal tehsil with over 15,653 kanals of land under their occupation.
Similarly, 664 people are shown under occupation of 2,835 kanals of encroached land in Jammu north and another 88 people under occupation of 514 kanals in Jammu West tehsil.
In Kashmir valley, the divisional administration so far released names of 623 beneficiaries of Roshni scheme — 288 in Srinagar district, 133 in Baramulla, 78 in Bandipora, 44 in Kupwara, 20 each in Ganderbal, Anantnag and Kulgam, 13 in Budgam and seven in Shopian.
Sources said the CBI has registered a total of eight FIRs and PEs in connection with Roshni case for investigations.
While some names have been included in the FIRs, more will be incorporated during course of investigations. The politicians, former bureaucrats, businessmen and other influential persons who have grabbed the Government land will be named in the FIRs during the course of investigations which have been expedited by the CBI.
“The investigators want to gather sufficient evidence against the beneficiaries before filing the FIRs,” sources said, adding the Jammu and Srinagar wings of the CBI will register separate cases in Roshni.
On November 1, the Union Territory administration cancelled all land transfers that took place under the JK State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 – also known as the Roshni Act – under which 2.5 lakh acres of land was to be transferred to the existing occupants.
A number of former Ministers, several other politicians and former bureaucrats and their families figured in the list of beneficiaries who have availed land under the now scrapped Roshni Act or encroached State land for residential or commercial purposes.
The lists were made public by the divisional administration, both in Kashmir and Jammu regions, in accordance with the October 9 directive of the High Court which had declared Roshni Act “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of land under this law.