Unravelling the mystery of ”missing” land records

The resolve of the UT Government to ”eradicate” corruption and have ”zero tolerance ” to corruption and corrupt practices notwithstanding , the corrupt and dishonest employees invent new ways and stitch different modus operandi to execute corrupt practices with intent to manage huge personal monetary gains. It will not be out of place to mention that this part of the country has its ”share” of the scourge of corruption seemingly of such a magnitude which is vividly calling for a massive, persistent and effective drive to not only fight it but root it out whole from the system. We have been dealing with this menace through these columns citing how despite initiatives taken by the Anti Corruption Bureau ,in most of the cases, many Departmental Heads are not co-operating with them not even in respect of initiating departmental enquiries against the suspected employees let alone giving consent to file FIRs against them even though having been sufficiently adequately been found involved in corrupt practices. Enquiries are inordinately delayed , time is intentionally allowed to pass , fear of important and critical documents and records getting tampered with or made going ”missing” looming large are such reasons that a new type of modus operandi having been employed by a nexus of serving and retired employees of the Revenue Department , some property dealers and others to brazenly facilitate land encroachment, indulge in illegal sale and purchase of land and other illegal acts, has surfaced.
It was reported that many vital land documents in the Revenue Department had gone ”missing” and Excelsior had published a report about that in early November last year that several vital public documents (Latha and Massavi) of the revenue villages Chowhadi and Sunjwan had been found ”missing ” from the concerned patwars as well as from General Record Room and even specific pages of the field book too were missing. Where could these vital documents take a flight to, unless ”piloted” by those who were ethically and morally bound to protect them , secure them and keep them lodged very carefully. It is intriguing to note that revenue papers like ”Fard Intikhab” were issued and mutations attested while there were no Latha and Massavi available to support in respect of Sunjwan and Chouhadi revenue villages. That points out to a sort of unbridled and semblance free environment prevailing in the Revenue Department where employees under reference had treated the said Department as their fiefdom. That position is totally unacceptable. Can any department , least the Revenue Department , function in the absence of some of its vital documents in matters where such missing documents had to be referred to for accuracy and fuller details. Due to this factor coupled with already some allied ones prevailing in the Revenue Department, the trust of the people in the department had been getting eroded which now requires to be restored by taking a stern action against the accused.
Consequent upon the decision to carry out raids at certain suspected locations recently jointly by the Revenue and Jammu Police authorities , the mystery of missing documents got unravelled and unveiled by arresting four persons and recovering Rs.26.63 lakh and large number of official documents which officials cannot keep in their houses or elsewhere other than in offices under proper lock and key. In respect of as many as 21 locations of 13 property dealers besides those of serving and retired officials of the Revenue Department were raided appears unique of its kind and first of such joint action which till the moment of execution did not get leaked. These teams deserve due encouragement for this action which had become inevitable looking to various angles attached to it.
Unless full details of this scam are sufficiently known, particularly how many and who were involved in this illegal but novel corrupt act, intensive investigations are required to be made which , therefore, the investigating teams must be fully seized of to carry forward all ”in a very fair and transparent manner”. Taking no lenient view but a resolute and effective action against the accused till conviction is bound to prove as a deterrent and a strong warning that employees of poor or doubtful integrity could never be tolerated to continue in Government service.