Allegations of land grab leveled against IPS officer Munir Ahmad Khan

A week after top cop of Jammu and Kashmir Police (JKP) Munir Ahmad Khan was granted one-year extension as Additional Director General of Police (ADGP), Law and Order, allegations of land grab have been levelled against him over a prime property in Srinagar. Munir Ahmad Khan and his wife Gulshareen had recently acquired a property in Srinagar.

Trouble mounted for Munir Ahmad Khan after his Gupkar neighbour Bashir Ahmed Mir raised objections over the construction on the land and claimed it to be a “custodian land”.

Bashir Ahmed Mir had sent a letter to concerned Ram Munshi Bagh police, seeking immediate stopping of the “illegal construction”. He also claimed that the property was a “custodian property”. A “custodian land” cannot be brought or sold according to the J&K government rules.

A “custodian property” is under the custody of the government till the time owners of the property, who left on March 1, 1947, do not return to claim it. Such a property can hence only be on lease for a maximum period of 99 years.

Sources close to Mir said that the complainant believes that the property was perhaps converted from “custodian property to private property” to facilitate the deal for the top cop and hence, “manipulations” in the matter cannot be ruled out.

Bashir Ahmed Mir told India Today TV that he wants to see the map of the said piece of land from the revenue department records which, he believes, will spell out if it was a private of a custodian property. Mir is likely to send another letter to both police stations and the department of revenue.

Rising from the ranks of a KPS officer to a top cop, holding the post of IG Kashmir, Munir Khan was the Centre’s local face in a conflict-torn state where he dealt with an iron hand. He also held posts of state information commissioner and ADG law and order.

Munir Khan, a direct recruit KPS officer of 1984 batch, was inducted into IPS in 1994. Khan was the main planner and executor of “Operation All Out” after the death of Hizb Commander Burhan Wani in 2016. Khan’s tenure in 2017 saw the elimination of many terror operatives and their commanders.

Incidentally, Munir Ahmad Khan’s brother Bashir Ahmed Khan, a top IAS bureaucrat of J&K, has also been accused of illegal transfer of land to several influential people in Gulmarg.

However, despite the past controversies, the Modi government gave them a one-year extension. Claiming that his deal is valid, Munir Khan told India Today TV that he sold his ancestral land in Jammu region to buy property on Gupkar road.

While the property, meant to be “Khan’s abode” post his retirement, is said to be worth crores of rupees, Munir Ahmad Khan confirmed to India Today TV that he paid Rs 97 lakh for the said “private property”.

Defending the deal, Munir Ahmad Khan also said he made the dead with due “diligence” to ensure should be clear demarcation and no controversy. He said he purchased the land only after there was no ambiguity left. “We applied for title and demarcation by a special committee, and the report was submitted signed and agreed by the custodian,” Munir Khan said.

He said, “Our lives were under severe threat for carrying out counter operations against terrorists and hence, we chose to settle down in Srinagar’s most-protected area.” Sources close to Munir Khan feel that the controversy has been generated to taint his image after he got the extension.

A joint survey committee was set up on April 22 soon after the controversy erupted. Some of the allegations state that all papers of the deal were processed in a day and possession of the land was given despite the cantonment board opposing the sale and objecting to it. The board’s objections were, however, set aside.

The said land has not been under the possession of the defence forces before or after 1946. The record so far states the ownership is legal and there is no ground to challenge it.