Soon after taking charge as the Chairman of the Shia Central Board of Waqfs (SCBW), Syed Waseem Rizvi reached Rampur and took custody of over 50 antique paintings — valued at hundreds of crores — at Imambara Khasbagh from Congress MLA Nawab Kazim Ali Khan alias Naved’s possession.
Rizvi claimed that there were plans to sell these historical paintings to some international buyers. “I came to know about these paintings at Imambada Khasbagh. Some Iranian delegation had inspected these for purchase. MLA Naved was not there but his staff was present, who was in touch with him during the operation,” Rizvi told The Indian Express.
According to sources, Imambada Khasbagh is situated at Naved’s palace. The 54 handmade paintings — reported to be more than two centuries old and depict various scenes of battle of Karbala — were reportedly brought from Iran and Iraq.
When Rizvi, along with district administration and police officials, reached the palace, the room where these paintings were kept was closed.
“I asked for keys, but the MLA’s staff refused to hand it over. They claimed that the room can be opened only on 9th Moharram. When we started to seal the premises, the keys emerged and the room was opened,” Rizvi said.
Following this, video of all the paintings and their still pictures were shot. Three copies were made with one each handed over to Rampur DM’s office, Waqf Surveyer and the SCBW. “These paintings are Waqf properties. They were not documented and there was a plan to sell them. One painting will fetch more than Rs 10 crore. Now, we have taken their possession,” said Rizvi.
Rizvi had earlier sealed a market of MLA Naved on grounds that it was constructed on Waqf land. “Naved is no more the Mutawalli of Waqf properties in Rampur. He has been removed and Circle Officer (City) Aaley Hasan of Rampur district police has been given the charge. But Naved is yet to hand over charge and we will soon initiate legal action against him,” he said. A list of Waqf properties in Rampur, which have been reportedly sold, is also being prepared.
Rizvi’s reappointment as the SCBW chairman has come as a jolt to Shia cleric Maulana Kalbe Jawwad, who has announced the launch of an agitation against him. Rizvi claimed that he has assumed office following Supreme Court’s instructions and will continue to work. His appointment has resulted in an acrimony between Jawwad and Waqf Minister Azam Khan.
“I will continue to take action. I had announced that land for graves, which was sold for over one lakh, will not be allowed. For this, notices were served to graveyards in which even Jawwad was mutawalli. Jawwad vents out fear through protests against me, as he is also involved in Waqf scams,” Rizvi claimed.