Rashid Paul

HC dismisses petition seeking cancelation of FIR against Taj, others

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Srinagar May 08: The J&K High Court on Tuesday dismissed a petition seeking cancellation of an FIR in to the alleged land grab by Taj Mohi ud din, a former Congress minister in connivance with revenue officials near tourist resort at Aharbal, South Kashmir, in 2007.

Justice Sanjeev Kumar who heard a petition by the official said “I do not find any case for interference with the investigation in FIR No.18/2016 registered at Vigilance Organization, (SVO) Kashmir”.

“Accordingly, the petition is found to be without merit, hence dismissed”, he ordered.

The SVO had in August 2016 registered a case against Taj Mohiuddin and four revenue officials in connection with illegal transfer of ownership rights of a piece of forest land at Sedow Shopian near Aharbal to the leader in south Kashmir.

The officials against whom FIR under the sections of Prevention of Corruption Act and Ranbir Panel Code had been lodged included the then Deputy Commissioner Shopian, Mohammad Ramzan Thakur, former Additional Deputy Commissioner Mohammad Yosuf Zargar, the then Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Hafizullah Shah and the former Tehsildar Ghulam Hasan Rather.

The then Tehsildar Shopian had placed 190 cases for vesting of ownership rights to the occupants of state land before a committee chaired by then Deputy Commissioner in June 2007.

The committee approved only 17 cases, which also included 10 Kanals 16 Marlas (about 1.27 acres) of land in Estate Sedow Shopian under illegal occupation of Taj, the Congress leader.

During verification it was revealed that the land under the illegal occupation of Taj was basically forest land and belonged to forest department.

It was also revealed that the Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Hafizullah Shah, in August 2007 sought ‘no-objection certificate’ from the forest department but they objected to the vesting of ownership rights in favour of Mohiuddin on forest land.

Despite knowing that the land belonged to the forest department and in no way can be processed for conferment of ownership rights under the provisions of J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act 2001, the revenue officers instead of rejecting the case, communicated to the forest authorities that the case stands “disposed off” and the objections do not serve any purpose.

“By acting in this manner, Thakur, Zargar, Rather and Shah, misused their official positions by illegally conferring ownership rights upon the beneficiary over the land,” reveal the SVO papers.

The officials have refuted the allegations before the court.

The original record pertaining to the illegal conferment of the ownership rights in favour of the beneficiary have been destroyed, say the officials.

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