The CBI on Tuesday registered an FIR against Kathua-based R B Education Trust, headed by former Congress MLA Kanta Andotra for occupying a huge tract of land over and above the ceiling of standard 100 kanals (12.5 acres) fixed by under provisions of the J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976.
Andotra is the wife of former Jammu and Kashmir minister Lal Singh, who quit the BJP and floated the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan.
Nearly half-a-dozen retired and serving revenue officials, who had allegedly helped the trust possess excess land in violation of the Act, too were booked by the CBI, including the then Kathua deputy commissioner Ajay Singh Jamwal (now retired).
CBI conducted searches during the day at nearly 10 locations in Jammu and Kathua, including the premises of the Trust, its chairperson and the residential premises of other accused, which led to the recovery of documents relating to movable and immovable property., an official spokesperson said.
The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry in June last following “source information” regarding “encroachment of huge tract public/government/forest land in Kathua district by unscrupulous elements in violation of J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976 and in connivance with revenue and forest officials”, sources said.
They said, “Preliminary enquiry prima facie revealed that the then Kathua deputy commission Ajay Singh Jamwal along with other accused revenue officials were involved in criminal conspiracy with R B Educational Trust through Kanta Andotra to allow it retain land beyond the permissible ceiling of standard 100 kanals.”
To enable the trust to retain land beyond 100 kanals, the revenue officials showed that 74.02 kanals (9.25 acres) was orchard and another 32 kanal (4 acres) was “gha charai” (grazing land) which did not come under the ceiling fixed under the Act. However, while there was no revenue entry in respect to existence of an orchard, and the grazing land being common land could not be purchased or sold by an individual, sources added.
They also pointed out that Jamwal had even misled the J&K High Court by giving “`wrong information” regarding the status of land held by the trust.
The criminal conspiracy between Jamwal and the trust through Andotra has also been established by the fact that the assistant revenue attorney section, which looks after RTI applications and court-related matters of the Kathua DC’s office did not prepare any reply in respect to an affidavit dated June 9, 2015 filed by Jamwal before High Court in a writ petition (PIL) No. 19/2011 at that time because the said matter was not dealt through that section, the sources said.
In this context, sources referred to the statement of one Pamesh Chander, then posted as ARA, who said that Jamwal had given him two yellow envelopes in the beginning of June 2015 and told him to hand one envelope to the office of Seema Khajooria, then senior additional advocate general and another in the office of Divisional Commissioner, Jammu. The envelopes contained documents relating to court matter in respect of the trust, they said.
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