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U.P. seeks CBI probe into Waqf land sale

UP Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi. Photo: upshiacwb.org

UP Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi. Photo: upshiacwb.org

The Uttar Pradesh government has recommended a CBI inquiry into the ‘irregular’ sale, purchase and transfer of Waqf land in the State. A letter requesting it was sent to the Department of Personnel and Training and the Ministry of Personnel, Public Grievances and Pensions, the U.P. Home Department said late on Saturday. The Home Department requested a probe into the sale, purchase and transfer of the land by the Sunni Central Waqf Board and the Shia Central Waqf Board. Two FIRs lodged in Allahabad and Lucknow would be investigated, it said.

While the government did not specify the details of the cases, FIRs show they were lodged against Shia Central Waqf Board chairman Waseem Rizvi in 2016 and 2017.

Talking to The Hindu , Zufar Faruqui, chairman of the Sunni Central Waqf Board said the call for a CBI probe was “most welcome.” He, however, pointed out that the two FIRs mentioned by the UP Home Department related to the Shia Central Waqf Board and not his department.

“They [government] will be able to answer this,” he said, when asked why was the Sunni Central Waqf Board being probed when it had no such cases against it.

In the first FIR, lodged on August 26, 2016 at Kotwali, Prayagraj, Mr. Rizvi is charged with criminal trespassing for illegal construction of shops at an Imambada in the Sangam city. The second case pertains to March 27, 2017 when he along with four others is charged with robbing the rights of the caretaker of a plot of land in Kanpur. The FIR invoked criminal intimidation, cheating and criminal breach of trust against Mr. Rizvi.

In a video statement released on Sunday, Mr. Rizvi welcomed the government recommendation and assured all cooperation to the CBI. He said he would send to the agency a list of the Waqf properties sold and purchased with the details of persons involved.

He claimed there was evidence to show that Maulana Kalbe Jawad, a prominent Lucknow-based Shia cleric, had sold many of the Waqf properties. Also under his target was Mohsin Raza, who is a Minister of State for Minority Welfare and Muslim Waqf.

Mr. Rizvi alleged that Mr. Raza during his time with the Congress had sold many Waqf properties, including his ancestral family graveyard. Mr. Rizvi shares a bitter relationship with the two persons accused by him.

“Be it a minister or a sentry, whoever has purchased or sold Waqf property for their own personal interests, they will come under the purview of this probe,” Mr. Rizvi said. “Everything will be clear after the probe. If I am guilty, I should be punished. If a minister or a maulvi is guilty, he should be punished.”

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Printable version | Aug 10, 2022 7:29:48 pm | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/up-seeks-cbi-probe-into-waqf-land-sale/article29675804.ece