Former chief minister and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah’s name has surfaced in the list of “encroachers” of government and forest land that is being investigated by the CBI and also the revenue department of the J&K administration.
However, Farooq has described it as another strategy of the BJP government to disturb him on the eve of the 8-phase local bodies’ election in the Union Territory (UT). It is learnt that Farooq’s name in the report of the revenue department has surfaced in connection with the “encroachment” on government land at Sunjwan in Jammu where he has built his private residence on the state and forest land.
The probe in the government land grabbing by influential politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen was ordered by the J&K High Court.
The report is learnt to have pointed out that in 1998 Farooq bought 3 Kanals of land from different owners, on a private khasra number 21 situated at a different location in village Sunjwan in the outskirts of Jammu.
However, instead of taking possession over 3 Kanals of private land he has been accused of encroaching upon more than 7 Kanals of the nearby prime state and forest land. The market value of the encroached land has been estimated around Rs. 10 crore.
“With Abdullah setting his site, began a cluster of illegal occupation of government land by influential politicians and businessmen”, claimed the report.
Another National Conference leader allegedly encroached upon 1 kanal of government land in the same area of Sunjwan. Name of the son of a former judge also figures in the list. Certain other politicians, bureaucrats and an hotelier are accused of having encroached on 30 kanals of land valuing about Rs.40 crores as per the market rates. Reacting to his name surfacing in the scam, Farooq said, “Not only my house, there are hundreds of others in the area. I will not react to this as they just want to disturb me. Let them do it.”
The CBI has registered three separate cases for alleged land grab under the Roshni Act in Jammu and Kashmir in complicity with government officials, in which a secretaryrank officer at the Centre is also under scanner.
The revenue department is separately probing encroachments on government and forest lands.
Minister of state for finance, Anurag Thakur, who is BJP’s election incharge for the local bodies’ polls, told media persons here that the top politicians of National Conference, PDP, Congress and also their blue eyed businessmen were allowed to systematically grab government land in J&K.
People associated with the Gupkar Alliance have robbed J&K for years while in power. This might be the biggest land grab scam in the entire country.
In the past 30 to 40 years, a gang of people has been capturing the government lands, he alleged. A bench of the J&K High Court headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal not only declared the Roshni Act illegal and unconstitutional but also ordered the J&K revenue authorities to identify and make public all influential persons who have grabbed government land. Reacting sharply to the allegations against Farooq Abdullah, the National Conference said that; “the news attributing to sources that Dr. Fraooq Abdullah is a beneficiary of the Roshni Act is completely false and is being spread with a malicious intent.
Dr. Farooq Abdullah has not availed of the Roshni scheme for either his residence in Srinagar or in Jammu and anyone who says otherwise is lying. The fact that they are using sources to plant this story shows that it has no legs to stand on”.