Nov. 23, 2020, 1:38:50 a.m.
AFTER A new indictment by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB), Special (anti-corruption) Judge Baramulla is due to hear the final arguments on Monday on the formulation of the charges against Baseer Ahmad Khan, adviser to Lieutenant Governor J&K, in The 2009 Gulmarg Land Scandal.
The case involving the current government official has attracted attention, not least because the ruling BJP called his government’s action to overturn Roshni’s law “a surgical strike against the corrupt J&K”. The Gulmarg land scandal is one of the most high-profile cases where senior officials have been convicted of allegedly violating Roshni Law to transfer state land to individuals.
In June this year, Special (Anti-Corruption) Judge Naseer Ahmad Dar ordered ACB to continue the investigation. Last month, the agency filed a report, again indicting Khan in the case.
In 2009, the State Vigilance Organization – now ACB – lodged a complaint against 20 people, including Khan, then Deputy Commissioner of Baramulla, and six other senior officials, for allegedly abusing their official positions to transfer state land in Gulmarg for development. tourist infrastructure, to private parties. This, the agency said, was in violation of the 2001 J&K State Land Act (Acquisition of Occupants’ Property) or the Roshni Act.
Khan was arrested on September 23, 2013 for corruption and was released on bail the same day. He was then appointed Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir. The current government has given him an extension after retirement. Subsequently, he was appointed advisor by the Center in March of this year.
The new ACB indictment has left red faces in the administration, which claims success in its fight against corruption, especially after J & K’s special status was repealed last year. However, the government has maintained complete silence on the issue.
Although the Roshni Law was abandoned by the then governor Satya Pal Malik Shortly after the central rule was imposed on J&K in 2018, the J&K High Court, in its judgment last month, characterized how ownership of state lands was transferred under this law to “plunder to possess”. The court transferred the investigation to CBI and specifically asked it to “determine the responsibility and the guilt of the people who were in charge of the cases …”. The current government has announced that it will implement the court order and has taken steps to reclaim the land.
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