Six people, including three former IAS officials, are charged in the well-known Roshni land fraud by a court in Srinagar.
Basharat Ahmad Dhar, Mehboob Iqbal, and Ejaz Iqbal, three former IAS officials, as well as the defendants Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, Akram Khan, and Sajad Parvez, have been charged by Special Judge SC Katal of the CBI Srinagar.
The Kashmir-based Vigilance Organization, which is now the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) Kashmir, first filed a complaint (FIR No. 26/2015).
On the advice of the High Court of J&K and Ladakh in a Public Interest Litigation (PIL), the matter was then submitted to CBI for investigation.
As a result, the CBI filed a case on November 20, 2020, alleging violations of Sections 120-B (criminal conspiracy), 420 (cheating), the former RPC (which the IPC has since superseded), and Sections 5(1)(d) and 5(2) of the J&K Prevention of Corruption Act.
According to the CBI case, the empowerment committee granted Sajjad Parvaiz ownership rights to State land measuring 7 kanals and 7 marlas under Khasra Nos. 216, 217, and 218 Estate Nursingh Garh site Shaheed Gunj on April 28, 2007, for a price of Rs. 45 lakh per kanal.
In accordance with Section 2(e) of the State Land (Vesting of Ownership Rights to the Occupants) Act (Roshni Act), “beneficiary” Parvez was not a legitimate occupier since, according to the prosecution, he was just a special power of attorney’s authorized representative for the lessees Ashok Sharma and Bipin Sharma.
After hearing from the parties, the court stated: “The evidence gathered by the investigation agency on its face value reveals that the accused officers in league with the accused beneficiary abused their official position and bestowed undue benefit by vesting ownership rights of prime State land.”
According to the court, it cannot be claimed that there are no adequate grounds for continuing against the accused individuals and that release is the only available option at this time.
The charge under Section 120-B/RPC read with Sections 5(1)(d)/5(2) of the J&K PC Act against the six accused has thus been filed, according to the court, and a prima facie case has been established.
The investigating officer in the matter at hand has gathered information, which, according to the Court, shows that the state property was leased in favour of Ashok Sharma and Bipin Sharma and that the lease was renewed up to 13 April 2008.
“The defendant is the lessee’s legal representative. The court said that there is no income record accessible to show the accused’s lawful and illegitimate possession.
However, the court stated that the lease executed a power of attorney in December 2004 in favour of the accused (Parvez), who now claims possession of the state land measuring 7 kanals and 7 marlas at Nursingh Ghar, which is located on the main road Karan Nagar-Shaheed Gunj.
Parvez submitted a request to provide the ownership right in accordance with the Roshni Act’s guidelines.
The court stated that “the price fixation committee headed by Khurshid Ahmad Ganie, the then Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, decided that leasee has created the third party interest over the leased property as such the case is not covered for vesting of ownership right,” adding that “the same committee also sought guidance from the Administrative Department, which directed to proceed for resumption of the land under relevant provisions of law.”
At that time, the committee headed by Basharat Ahmad Dhar, the former Divisional Commissioner for Kashmir, relied on the earlier report and decided to confer the vesting of ownership rights of the entire land measuring 7 kanal 7 marla at the rate of Rs 45 lakh per kanal and the committee treated the property as commercial. After three years, Parvez once again submitted an application for the vesting of ownership rights of land in his favour.