The Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) on Wednesday alleged that Lt Governor Anil Baijal does not want to appoint the chairperson of Delhi Waqf Board, which is leading to “corruption and misuse” of its property. Revenue Minister Kailash Gahlot sought to know why the Lt Governor was not appointing the chairperson despite the fact that all laid down procedure have been followed.
The minister appealed to the L-G to appoint the Waqf board chairperson while participating in a discussion over the issue in the Delhi Assembly. The House later passed a resolution seeking a magisterial probe into 36 cases where the Delhi Waqf Board has lost in the past. Raising the issue of illegal sale of Dargah land in the House, AAP MLA Sourabh Bharadwaj said the board has been “headless” for over one-and-a-half-year which is a very serious issue.
“As there has been no appointment of the chairperson, Waqf properties are being encroached. The matter has been pending with the L-G office for one and a half years, but L-G has not appointed the chairperson yet,” Bharadwaj said.
Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal later urged the Lt Governor to allow constitution of the Delhi Waqf Board. “Hon’ble LG shud permit constitution of Delhi Waqf Board to prevent such wrongdoings (sic),” Kejriwal said in a tweet. The House was discussing the interim report of Question & Reference Committee which found that a portion of a Dargah land was illegally sold out.
The House committee has recommended that the chief secretary should initiate criminal proceedings against the board’s section officer K A Farooqi for his alleged acts of commission and omission in connivance with others in alleged illegal sale of dargah property. In its report, the committee also asked the chief secretary to ensure that there was an elected representative heading the Delhi Waqf Board as chairperson, as per the laid down process.
On his part, the revenue minister said that when the AAP MLA Amantullah Khan was the chairperson till October, 2016, the board’s income had risen to around Rs one crore. He asserted that no court has put a stay on the appointment of the chairperson. “I don’t understand why the L-G is not appointing the chairperson. I request the L-G to accept our request,” Gahlot said.
The Delhi Waqf Board was dissolved in October 2016 by the then Lt Governor Najeeb Jung after two of its members resigned alleging corruption, and referred the matter to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for a probe.