The case pertains to illegal conferment of land ownership under the now annulled Roshni Act
The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has booked Taj Mohiuddin, a former Congress minister in Jammu and Kashmir, and others, in connection with the alleged illegal conferment of land ownership under the now annulled Roshni Act.
The case was initially registered by the erstwhile Vigilance Organisation. Mr. Mohiuddin, the then deputy commissioner (Shopian) Mohammed Ramzan Thakur, then additional deputy commissioner Mohammed Yousuf Zargar, then assistant commissioner (revenue) Hafizullah Shah, and a then tehsildar Hassan Rather, were named as accused.
The State’s Vigilance Organisation had started the inquiry on the basis of a news article published in the Greater Kashmir English daily on January 20, 2011.
As it turned out, the then tehsildar of Shopian had processed and placed 190 cases for vesting of ownership rights to the illegal occupants of State land before a committee chaired by the then deputy commissioner, on June 16, 2007, under the J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, also known as the Roshni Act.
The committee approved only 17 cases, which included a matter involving 13 kanals and 16 marlas of land in the Estate Sedow shown under the alleged illegal occupation of Mr. Mohiuddin.
During verification, it was found that the land in question came under the Forest Department. After a gap of almost two months from the date of approval on August 6, 2007, the accused sought a No Objection Certificate from the Forest Department.
In November 2007, the Forest Department raised an objection to the move for giving the land ownership to Mr. Mohiuddin. Instead of rejecting the case, the Revenue officials concerned informed the forest authorities in December that year that the case had already been disposed of and the objection did not serve any purpose.
The Vigilance Organisation found that the then divisional forest officer of Shopian had again in May 2008 returned the case file of Mr. Mohiuddin with the remarks that it was forest land and that the case should be rejected. However, the Revenue officials approved the illegal claim, clearing the way for vesting of ownership rights to the accused under the Roshni Act, it is alleged.
Following a J&K High Court directive, the CBI has so far taken over investigation into nine cases. Several other FIRs related to the ₹25,000-crore Roshni scam may be registered by the agency soon.
With inputs from The Hindu
(Except for the headlines, this story has not been edited by Kashmir Today staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)