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ACB registers case against former Dy Dir Horticulture among 50 persons

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Fraudulent allotment of shop at Fruit Mandi Sopore

Srinagar: Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) on Tuesday registered a case against the then Dy. Director Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) Deptt. Kashmir, then Area Marketing Officer, Sopore, and 48 other illegal beneficiaries for illegal and fraudulent allotment of shop sites at Fruit and Vegetable Mandi Nowpora, Sopore.

A statement issued by the ACB reads that a Joint Surprise Check (JSC) was conducted by ACB to investigate the allegations of large-scale bungling in the allotment of shops at Fruit Mandi Sopore by the Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) Department.

It was alleged that the Area Marketing Officer concerned in connivance with touts of the Fruit Mandi Union allotted shops at their will against huge consideration and the bonafide applicants who had submitted form along with premiums way back two decades were ignored, the statement said.

“It surfaced that Department of Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) invited offers on prescribed forms from eligible Fruit & Vegetable Growers/ Traders/ Commission Agents/ Joint Firms/ Societies/ Federations/ Corporations and other NGOs for allotment of 700 shop sites at Fruit & Vegetable Market Nowpora Sopore vide notice issued under vide No. DHPM/701/2001/1381-92 dated 23.04.2001, with terms and conditions notified vide No. DHPM/701/153/2828-39 dated 23.07.2001 with last date as 09.06.2001 extended up to 29.09.2001.

“In response to this offer, 595 applications were received with a 1st premium installment of Rs 25,000,” the statement said.

“The probe revealed that the draw of lots in the allotment of shop sites, as contained in the notification, was dispensed with and allotments were arbitrary. The Area Marketing Officer Sopore namely Mohammad Ashraf Damnoo has even resorted to forgery for accommodating the preferred beneficiaries. Instead of recovering premiums from allotted beneficiaries, Area Marketing Officer Sopore namely Mohammad Ashraf Damnoo enlisted the beneficiaries who had not even applied within the stipulated time, including his own son and brother-in-law,” reads the statement.

The statement further said that the probe conducted revealed that forty-eight (48) such beneficiaries have been enlisted in the years 2009, 2012, 2013 & 2014 despite cutoff date on 29.09.2001 on same premium Rs. 100,000/- fixed in the year 2001 while the rate of the land increased manifold in the meantime. The statement reads that the probe also revealed that officers/officials of Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) Department kept the matter under dormant till 2009.

“The allotments were made in disregard to the terms and conditions notified for the purpose. It has also been found that possession and release hold rights of the shop sites have been conferred to the beneficiaries without receiving the third instalment of premium of Rs 50,000 which was one of the pre-requisites of the terms & conditions of the allotment issued by the Department,” reads the statement.

The then Deputy Director Horticulture & the then Area Marketing Officer Sopore issued allotment orders in favour of 591 applicants without realizing the full premium amount of Rs. 1.00 lakh, the outstanding towards the allotees as on 30-06-2021 was Rs 1,21,88,000, the statement said.

“The involved officers/officials of Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) Department Kashmir under well-knit conspiracy hatched amongst themselves & with the beneficiaries, by abuse of their officials positions, dishonestly and fraudulently in lieu of pecuniary gains, managed application forms for shop sites at Fruit and Vegetable Market Nowpora, Sopore and issued allotment orders in their favour in disregard to the notified terms and conditions which also include their relatives, depriving deserving ones. They deliberately did not take any prescribed panel action against defaulting allotees and did not realize the requisite premium amount well in time, which ultimately resulted in the corresponding loss of Rs. 1,21,88,000/- to the state exchequer,” said the statement.

The accused persons have been identified as former Deputy Director Horticulture (Planning & Marketing) Dept Kashmir namely, Mohammad Sultan Teli, then Area Marketing officer, Sopore namely Mohammad Ashraf Damnoo, the beneficiaries and have been booked under offences punishable u/s 5(1)(d) r/w 5(2) J&K P.C.Act, Svt; 2006 & sections 465,468,471 & 120-B RPC.

Accordingly, the statement reads that a case under FIR number 06 /2024 was registered in P/S ACB Baramulla and investigation was initiated. Immediately after registration of the case searches were also conducted at the residences of the accused public servants during which various incriminating documents pertaining to the matter were also recovered and seized, adding that further investigations in the case are going on.


KI News

Kashmir Images is an English language daily newspaper published from Srinagar (J&K), India. The newspaper is one of the largest circulated English dailies of Kashmir and its hard copies reach every nook and corner of Kashmir Valley besides Jammu and Ladakh region.

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