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CBI raids premises of prominent J&K businessman in Srinagar

Sources said after registering an FIR, the anti-corruption branch of CBI carried out searches at the residence of Choudhary.

IANS | Srinagar |

The CBI on Sunday raided the premises of a prominent J&K businessman in Srinagar, as part of its investigation in Roshini land scam.

Official sources said the CBI raided the residence of Muhammad Showkat Choudhary, owner of Hatric Group of Companies, days after it registered a case against six officials including three former IAS officers for giving him ownership rights on a piece of land under the law, despite the fact that the original lease was in the name of Mehboob Afzal Beigh, son of late Mirza Mohammad Afzal Beigh, once a close confidante of Sheikh Muhammad Abdullah.

Sources said after registering an FIR, the anti-corruption branch of CBI carried out searches at the residence of Choudhary.

According to preliminary investigation carried out by CBI, a piece of land measuring four kanals under survey no 1347 min and 1364 min of the Estate Nursing Garh, Tehsil Srinagar was leased out to Mehboob Beigh and Mumtaaz Afzal Beigh in 1977.

The lease of the said land was to expire in 2020.

The probe has, however, revealed that on August 6, 2001, the Beighs handed over eight marlas out of the said four kanals to Choudhary by virtue of irrevocable Power of Attorney.

The probe suggests that Choudhary, the power of attorney holder, later applied for conferment of ownership rights under the Roshni Act on February 24, 2004.

On this application, the then Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar in a letter on October 8, 2004 addressed to Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir mentioned that the case cannot be considered for ownership rights as the land in question is on an important road and is within 50 feet from the centre of the road.

The Price Fixation Committee (PFC), in its meeting dated March 30, 2005, recommended the case of applicant to the extent, that this land is not required for road widening and is not hit by the provisions of Ribbon Development Act.

However, the Assistant Commissioner (N), on June 6, 2005, recommended that the land measuring 8 marlas be considered for conferment of ownership under Roshni Act.

Thereafter, the case of the applicant was again deliberated by another Price Fixation Committee in its meeting held on July 11, 2007 under the chairmanship of then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, Mehboob Iqbal and other members likle Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal, then DC Srinagar, Muhammed Afzal Bhat, then Additional Commissioner Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, then Assistant Commissioner, Revenue, Srinagar, Muhammed Akram Khan, then tehsildar, Nazul, Srinagar) and Sheikh Muneer Akhtar, then Tehsildar, Srinagar), sources said adding that the committee discussed the case and approved ownership rights on piece of the land to Choudhary.

The CBI has registered a case under section 5 (2) and 5 (1) (d) of J&K PC Act Section 120-B of RPC against Mehboob Iqbal, Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal, Bhat, Malik, Khan, and Akhtar.