Rashid Paul

HC asks CS to file comprehensive response, status report

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Pahalgam Golf Course land purchase scam…

Srinagar June 06: Srinagar: The High Court on Wednesday asked the state Chief Secretary to file a comprehensive response and status report in the Pahalgam Golf Course land purchase scam involving bureaucrats and other high society people of the state.

Since the matter involves a huge amount of public money the court said “why should not it be referred to the CBI for a thorough investigation so that the erring Government functionaries and the beneficiaries of such a wrong are brought to justice”?

Justices Ali Mohammad Magrey and D S Thakur who heard the matter observed “this is not the end of it; numerous issues are likely to surface later as the case proceeds ahead”.

Hearing PIL, the court said that it needs to know and determine as to who was or were the competent authority or authorities to take the follow up action and implement the common judgment of the Court dated 29 January 2014 in the seven writ petitions.

It has been observed that nomenclature of a sizeable chunk of land handed over by the revenue department to the tourism department has illegally been changed and huge amounts of money extracted by the officials from the state exchequer.

The court has also taken note of the irregularities in the making of awards of compensation for the acquired land where higher rates were awarded to influential land owners, bureaucrats, political activists and businessmen.

The court while taking up the matter made certain inquiries as to what course of action should be taken to retrieve the government money disbursed to persons not entitled thereto, whether under the orders of the Civil Court or otherwise?

It also wanted to know from the Chief secretary as to what action should be taken against the erring Government functionaries/officers, including the concerned Revenue Officers who remained posted in Anantnag and had an occasion to deal with the matter?

It also asked the present status of the criminal case that was filed by the Crime Branch before the Court of law and who were the accused therein”?

Way back in 2004, a proposal was mooted by the State Tourism Department through Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam, for expansion of Pahalgam Golf Course for which certain lands were required to be acquired.  Subsequently, possession of land measuring 364 Kanals was handed over by the Tehsildar Pahalgam to the Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam Development Authority on 01.04.2006.

However, this document, produced during the course of hearing before the Court does not specify the Khasra nos. of the land which was taken over, as was observed by the court. “It is a plain piece of paper, bereft of any semblance of being a governmental document; not that it is false, but demonstrative of the casual manner things have been rushed through,” the court had observed.

“While the compensation as determined in the final award was being paid to the claimants, and an amount of Rs.7, 53,73,875.00 was disbursed amongst some of the claimants, a case FIR no.1/2009 was registered at Police Station, Vigilance Organization, during the investigation of which certain discrepancies were noticed.’ On 06.12.2013 the government had said that the award had been wrongly passed and published inasmuch as persons who were not owners of the land were held entitled to compensation.

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