November 17, 2020 1:55:17 am
The CBI on Monday filed three separate cases for alleged land grab through misuse of the Roshni Act in Jammu and Samba districts in collusion with government officials. A secretary-ranked officer at the Centre is also under the scanner, officials said.
The agency has taken over the probe from J&K’s Anti-Corruption Bureau, including in one case involving 154 kanal of prime land in Jammu city, following J&K High Court directions last month ordering a CBI probe and declaring J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership to its Occupants), 2001, also known as Roshni Act, “void ab initio”.
Revenue officials of Jammu district allegedly entered into a criminal conspiracy with Bansi Lal Gupta, a businessman, and conferred ownership rights with regard to land at village Deeli Tehsil. The court had pointed out that “despite revenue records recording JDA as owner of the land, it (land) stands transferred to private persons under the Roshni Act”.
The court also referred to a cover-up attempt in Gupta’s case on part of the JDA. In July 2019, the Anti-Corruption Bureau sought closure of the case before Special Judge (Anti-Corruption) Jammu, saying the revenue department was trying to shut its eyes considering a “police-bureaucratic-political-business-media nexus’’.
The ACB had in its closure report virtually exhibited its helplessness to proceed against the “big sharks” as the accused held “clout in the corridors of power”.
A senior IAS officer, now a secretary at the Centre, and another officer in the electricity department of the Union Territory, are also under the scanner, officials said.
Another case pertains to an FIR lodged in 2015 against revenue department officials in Jammu for conferring undue benefits upon illegal occupants of the state land by intentionally ignoring the laid down provisions of Roshni Act and Rules and defeating the purpose of the scheme to generate revenue for undertaking development works. Another case was filed against unknown revenue department officials in Samba district in 2015 for having conferred undue benefits upon illegal occupants by contravening the Act.
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