July 17, 2021 5:40:35 am
The CBI Friday conducted searches at nine places in Jammu and Kashmir, including the residences of at least two former IAS officers, one being Mehboob Iqbal who is now with the National Conference, in connection with a case related to conferment of ownership rights of prime state land in Srinagar at low prices to ineligible applicants.
The CBI is investigating a bunch of cases relating to similar conferment of ownership rights, which have caused a loss to the state exchequer, on the orders of J&K High Court. The alleged illegalities have come to be collectively known as Roshni scam, named after the 2001 land Act, under which the ownership rights were transferred, and which was repealed in 2018.
According to a CBI spokesperson, searches were carried out on Friday at the premises of two former Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir, a former Srinagar Deputy Commissioner, apart from the then Assistant Commissioner and Tehsildar Nazool (Srinagar), besides a private person/ beneficiary.
The CBI claimed it found documents, including conferment of land ownership rights, papers pertaining to several immovable properties in Srinagar, Jammu and Delhi, besides fixed deposits of more than Rs 25 lakh during the searches. Cash of Rs 2 lakh, keys of six bank lockers and a number of bank accounts were also found, it claimed.
When contacted, Mehboob Iqbal confirmed the CBI searches at his and his brother Aijaz Iqbal’s residences in connection with the more than 13-year-old case. Pointing out that he has been in his native Bhaderwah town since last month, Iqbal said his son was present at his house in Jammu at the time of the search.
The CBI spokesperson said the case relates to an alleged arbitrary conferment of ownership rights of state land, measuring 7 Kanals and 7 Marlas (39,837 sq feet), situated at a prime location in Srinagar in 2007 on an ineligible applicant at a low price, leading to loss to the state exchequer. It was also alleged that the land category was changed by the then public servants, who were members of the Price Fixation Committee.
Mehboob Iqbal is among 20 people, including Baseer Khan, the Advisor to UT Lt Governor Manoj Sinha, who have been named as accused in the similar Gulmarg land scam. In this, bureaucrats allegedly misused their official position and transferred ownership rights of state land meant for development of tourist infrastructure to private hoteliers in 2008 in violation of the J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 or Roshni Act.