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5 Revenue officials, ‘mahant’ indicted for fraudulent sale of temple land in Jammu

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Jammu: The Jammu and Kashmir Anti-Corruption Bureau on Monday indicted seven persons including five Revenue officials and a priest in a nine-year-old case of fraudulent sale of over 18.75 acres of temple land here.

The ACB indicted the seven in a charge-sheet filed in the special anti-corruption court against them, three of whom have already expired during the probe into the case, an ACB spokesperson said.

He said the accused in the case include former Patwari Dalip Singh, the then Naib Tehsildar Manohar Singh, erstwhile Tehsildars Shanti Saroop and Surinder Gupta (both dead) and former Patwari Babu Ram (expired) besides Mahant Baba Ram Milan Dass and his assistant Damodar Dass of Uttar Pradesh.

The case was registered on February 21, 2011 after the verification of allegations that over 18.75 acres of land situated in villages Muthi and Paloura and belonging to the temple “Thakur Dwara Shri Ram Janki Pracheen Mandir, Udheywala, Jammu”, was sold off illegally, the spokesman said.

During the investigation, he said it transpired that the ‘mahant’, who was priest-cum-custodian of the temple, had no authority or competence to alienate or transfer or lease out the land belonging to the temple.

To take undue pecuniary benefits for himself and to make a wrongful loss to the temple, the ‘mahant’ hatched a criminal conspiracy with accused revenue officials who issued the revenue extracts for the execution of the sale and lease deed illegally and later on entered and attested mutations of different pieces of land, the spokesman said.

“This action on their part individually as well as collectively was found to be illegal involving a sheer abuse of their official positions and powers to confer an undue benefit to the ‘mahant’ and wrongful loss to the temple,” he said.

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