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BJP ex-MLA’s father in Roshni list, he says ‘wrongly mentioned’

The official list of beneficiaries shows Pathania’s father, late Bhopinder Singh, and his grandfather, Jagdev Singh, as beneficiaries of 9 kanal and 14 marla land at village Kehal in Majalta tehsil of Ramnagar Assembly constituency.

Written by Arun Sharma | Jammu | December 10, 2020 2:08:18 am
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The late father of former BJP MLA R S Pathania figures in the list of 266 illegal beneficiaries in Udhampur district’s Majalta tehsil prepared by the Jammu and Kashmir administration in relation to the Roshni land scam.

The list was uploaded on the official website of the Divisional Commissioner on Tuesday, the day the Union Territory administration through an urgent hearing motion got a hearing on its review petition against the J&K High Court’s October 9 judgment on the Roshni Act brought forward from December 16 to December 11.

The matter needed urgent intervention of the court as poor and landless people, who too had benefited under the Act, would be facing the heat along with wealthy and influential people, Additional Advocate General Aseem Sawhney had argued.

The official list of beneficiaries shows Pathania’s father, late Bhopinder Singh, and his grandfather, Jagdev Singh, as beneficiaries of 9 kanal and 14 marla land at village Kehal in Majalta tehsil of Ramnagar Assembly constituency. The mutation of the land is shown to have been entered in their names vide No. 560 on October 24, 2011, after the payment of Rs 470.

Following the High Court’s October 9 judgment declaring the Roshni Act void ab initio and cancelling all transfers of state land to its occupants, the Revenue Department had, on November 18, cancelled the mution and expunged all entries from revenue records.

In 2011, Pathania was with the Congress. He was elected MLA on a BJP ticket from Ramnagar constituency for the first time in 2014.

When contacted, Pathania said that his father’s name had been “wrongly mentioned” in the list of Roshni beneficiaries, and that he has already taken up the matter with the concerned authorities.

“So far as my family including myself, mother, brother and sister are concerned, no one is either in possession or has any mutation of state land attested in their favour,’’ he said.

“Had my father been a beneficiary of Roshni land scam, then I would have inherited that land after his death,’’ Pathania said. His political opponents are seeking to target him because his wife Juhi Manhas is contesting the District Development Council elections from the Khoon constituency, which is going to polls on Thursday, Pathania added.

In another list pertaining to Kathua district, former minister Prem Sagar Aziz figures among 644 beneficiaries of the Roshni land scam. The former minister, who switched over to the National Conference from Congress over two years ago, is shown to have been in possession of 18 kanal and 4 marla land at four places in Basohli tehsil’s Plahi village. The combined estimated cost of all the pieces of land is stated to be Rs 45.40 lakh, but he was shown to have paid only Rs 42,600 for getting the mutations attested in his favour.

While all the mutations were cancelled on November 18, the former minister, according to official records, continued to be in possession of the state land. At two places, he was stated to be carrying out commercial activity.

When contacted, Prem Sagar said his ancestors had purchased the land some 40 years ago, and he had inherited it from them. Since there was a government legislation providing for vesting of ownership of the state land to its occupants, he had applied for it.

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