Rashid Paul

Initiate cancellation of fraudulent gift deeds, change of land use at Pahalgam: HC directs PDA

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Srinagar: The J&K High Court Thursday directed the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) to initiate proceedings for the cancellation of the fraudulent gift deeds and the change of land use by certain senior officers of J&K government at the Pahalgam hill resort.

According to an investigation report by the State Vigilance Organization, Mir Naseem Ahmad, the then Chief Town Planner; Hamid Ahmad Wani, the then Town Planner; and Nazir Ahmad, the then Assistant Town Planner, had misused their official position.

They had conferred undue benefit upon themselves by mischievously changing land use relating to Sub- zone A-14 in Pahalgam Master Plan.

The committee comprising of the trio in 2004 was supposed to prepare Master Plan (2005-2025) of Pahalgam.

They had “resorted to misrepresentation, manipulations and distortions” whereby it was interalia proposed that Sub-zone A-14 be de-notified to permit construction of hutments and other facilities in the Master Plan of Pahalgam Town (2005-2025).

“This was aimed at achieving the mischievous design for personal gain of accused public servant Mir Naseem Ahmad to induce a sharp increase in cost of land.”

On the direction of J&K High Court, Senior Additional Advocate General today filed a status report by Senior Superintendent of Police, Anti-Corruption Bureau, South Kashmir.

The report states that the role of the then Chief Town Planner, Kashmir Mir Naseem Ahmad appears to be a dubious one.

In 1991, he had dishonestly and fraudulently acquired about 29 kanals and 13 marlas of land in planning Sub-zone A-14 through oral gifts shown to have been made by donors to his close/trusted supporting employees and his associates, reads the report.

After fraudulently acquiring the land in the name of “proxy owners”, a plan was conceived by Mir Naseem Ahmad to arbitrarily change the land use to induce sharp increase in the value of land in Sub-zone A-14 for personal gain, the investigation has revealed.

It said a charge-sheet was submitted and the trial court vide order dated 6th February 2016 framed the charges against the accused persons.

However, on the petitions filed by two of them, the High Court had quashed the entire proceedings of the case vide judgment and order dated 16th October 2018 and now the matter is sub-judice before the Supreme Court, the report said further.

Perusing the report, a division bench of the court comprising Chief Justice Pankaj Mithal and Justice Vinod Chatterji Koul today observed that fake and fraudulent gift deeds were manipulated by the officers.

The bench called upon the Revenue department and the PDA to inform as to what action they have taken to get the deceitful deeds nullified.

“In case they have not taken any action, they are directed to initiate proceedings in accordance with law for the cancellation of the said gift deeds as also the change of land use as may be advised to them in law and to report the action so taken to the court,” directed the bench.

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