SRINAGAR: A 30-strong second list of politicians and politically-connected beneficiaries of the Roshni land transfer scheme appeared on the J&K administration’s official website on Thursday along with details of the government-owned plots they allegedly encroached on and then legalised at a fraction of their market price.
The fresh set of names has been made public days after it emerged that the allegedly illegal land transfer cases the CBI is probing includes a Jammu property in the name of former CM and National Conference chief Farooq Abdullah and his immediate family. NC issued a statement on Thursday, terming the allegation “malevolent, misleading and baseless propaganda”.
The new list of alleged beneficiaries includes Javid Ahmad Ashia, a nephew of former CM Ghulam Mohammad Shah. Ashia is accused of grabbing four kanals of prime state land at Gogji Bagh in Srinagar when his late maternal uncle was the CM of the erstwhile state from 1984 to 1985. Mohammad Anwar Ashia, another relative of former Shah, allegedly took advantage of the Roshni scheme to acquire six kanals of land at Gogji Bagh for far less than the property was worth.
Shah’s sons Ifthikar and Muzaffar, his daughter Alia and wife Khalida, who is Farooq’s sister, also stand accused of illegally occupying government land at Srinagar’s Margarmal Bagh, according to the Union Territory administration’s website.
Vijay Lakshmi Khatar, the daughter of former J&K Congress MP Tirath Ram Amla, allegedly occupies four kanals of illegally vested state land at Gogji Bagh. The Amla family has several other properties at Maulana Azad Road, Ram Munshi Bagh, Gupkar Road and Shivpora, the website states.
Former NC minister Sonam Narboo’s son Sonam Wangchuk is yet another political scion named and shamed for allegedly grabbing two kanals and seven malras of prime state land at Srinagar’s Raj Bagh. His sister Diskit has been accused of illegally occupying a kanal and 12 marlas of land at Raj Bagh.
Sonam Narboo, from Leh, was revenue minister under Sheikh Mohammad Abdullah’s chief ministership in 1976.
Two affluent businessmen feature in the second list of allegedly illegal Roshni scheme beneficiaries. One of them, Owais Ahmad, owns an automobile showroom at Sunjwan in Jammu.
According to the government’s website, the Congress-controlled Khidmat Trust headed by Habla Begum, wife of deceased party functionary Ghulam Rasool Kar, built shopping plazas and a hotel on state land acquired for Rs 91 lakh against a market value of Rs 50 crore. Contacted by TOI, Habla Begum claimed the property belonged to Congress and not her family. J&K Congress chief G A Mir alleged that the trust was “usurped” by Kar transferred in the name of his wife Habla Begum.
The NC headquarters is also under a cloud. The place is now part of a multi-floor commercial complex built on a piece of vested state land measuring three kanals and 16 marlas near Zero Bridge, adjacent to the Srinagar Doordarshan Kendra. The party used to run a printing press there for its official Urdu newspaper Nawa-e-Subah.
The CAG report of 2013-14 mentions that the value of the land alone is Rs 35 crore, but its price was fixed at Rs 4.5 crore (Rs 1.2 crore per kanal). NC allegedly got a rebate of Rs 4 crore and paid Rs 51 lakh to transfer the land in its name.
The Roshni land transfer scheme was the brainchild of Abdul Rahim Rather, who was finance minister in Farooq’s government from 1996 to 2002. The professed objective of the then government was to reclaim the value of encroached state land from the occupiers and finance energy projects with the proceeds.