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CBI registers three more cases linked to ₹25,000-crore Roshni land scam in Jammu & Kashmir

A view of the Khidmat complex on the Bund near fashionable Residency Road in Srinagar has come up on the grabbed State land ‘regularised’ under ‘Roshni Act’. File   | Photo Credit: Nissar Ahmad

Three more FIRs linked to the ₹25,000-crore Roshni land scam have been registered by the CBI against the Revenue department officials and others in Srinagar district of Jammu and Kashmir, taking the number of cases to eight so far.

One Sajad Parvez has been named in the first case, apart from unknown Revenue officials. In 2007, an empowered committee under the now repealed Roshni Act had granted ownership rights of State land measuring seven ‘kanals’ and seven ‘marlas’ to him under commercial category, at the rate of ₹45 lakh per ‘kanal’.

A vigilance inquiry later found that under the Act, Mr. Parvez was not an occupant and could not have been given the ownership rights. He was only an authorised agent of the original occupants, Ashok Sharma and Bipan Sharma, by virtue of a special power of attorney. Despite this, the empowered committee allowed his proprietorship.

A ground report and the site plan clearly showed that a portion of the leased land was hit by the Ribbon Development Act. This fact was not taken into account. 

Also, the empowered committee had on April 28, 2007 decided the case under the commercial category. However, the subsequent committee, while acting on the complaint of the beneficiary, changed the category to residential in August that year. It did not determine the nature of land usage from field officials. 

In the case of adjoining properties, the empowered committee had fixed a rate of ₹65 lakh per ‘kanal’. Therefore, it is alleged that the land given to Mr. Parvez could have fetched about ₹2.15 crore to the exchequer under commercial category, instead of a little over ₹1.17 crore paid by the beneficiary. Thus, the Revenue officials caused a loss of close to ₹1 crore to the exchequer. 

The second FIR is against unknown public servants and others and pertains to the instances where proper procedure was not adopted while disposing of cases of illegal occupants for vesting ownerships in Srinagar. 

In many cases where the recovery rates had been fixed by the competent authority, they were not remitted to the exchequer. In a particular case, the ownership was given at the rate of ₹48 lakh per ‘kanal’, whereas the then prevailing market rate was ₹70 lakh. 

Audit report

Unknown public servants and private persons are also under the scanner in the third case which mentions an audit report alleging irregularities in the transfer of land. It revealed abuse of official position in conferring undue pecuniary benefit on illegal occupants of the State land.

The price of land was fixed arbitrarily, there was incorrect application of rates and unauthorised changes in classification of land, as alleged.

During the verification of some randomly selected matters, for which records were provided by the Deputy Commissioner of Budgam, the authorities found that proper procedure had not been followed. The ownership of land measuring 40 kanals and 10 marlas in Budgam had been vested in the name of five beneficiaries at the rate of ₹5 lakh against the then prevailing market rate of ₹13 lakh per kanal.

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Printable version | Jan 25, 2021 1:43:01 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/cbi-registers-two-more-cases-linked-to-25000-cr-roshni-land-scam-in-jk/article33167589.ece

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