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CBI seeks details from former DC Kathua on land allotment to edu trust run by Lal Singh

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Jammu: The CBI sought details from a former Deputy Commissioner of Kathua in connection with its probe into allegations of land grabbing by an educational trust run by a former minister, officials said on Tuesday.

They said the officer was called in-person and he gave clarification on queries raised by the federal probe agency related to the alleged irregularities in the land deal.

The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had last month registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) against R B Educational Trust of Kathua and unknown public servants to probe allegations of illegal gratification and extraneous consideration by revenue and forest officials of Kathua for allowing sale and purchase of forest land, the officials said.

During the preliminary enquiry, the agency tried to find whether material existed to move ahead with a formal registration of a case, also known as a Regular Case or FIR, to start investigation.

The trust, run by former Jammu and Kashmir minister Lal Singh, has a school, B.Ed and nursing colleges on the land. Its transactions have now come under the scanner of the central agency for alleged irregularities in purchase of the land, they said.

According to the CBI’s PE, it is alleged that false certificates claiming that such land comes under exempted category under the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act were used in its purchase by the educational trust, the officials said.

The preliminary enquiry by the CBI has alleged that the trust, a beneficiary of such alleged illegal acts, continues to be in possession of huge tracts of land in gross violation of ceiling prescribed under the J&K Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976, they said.

During the preliminary enquiry no searches can be conducted or no one can be summoned for recording statements without consent.

Lal Singh had last year quit the BJP and floated the Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS).

He and the then industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga had resigned from the PDP-BJP dispensation in 2018 after questions were raised over their participation in a Hindu Ekta Manch rally organised in support of those arrested in connection with the rape and murder of an eight-year-old girl in Kathua that year.

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