Kashmir’s top political families, IAS officers in CAG’s Roshni list.
Ex-FM, Ex-PSC chairman, actor Feroz Khan’s sister, poet Aga Shahid Ali figure among beneficiaries of scrapped Act
The Kashmir political, bureaucratic and business elite’s who’s who figure among the so-called beneficiaries of the Roshni Act of 2001 who had acquired proprietary rights over the State land occupied by them illegally from time to time. The Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001, commonly known as the Roshni Act, has now been declared as unconstitutional and void ab initio by a Division Bench of the Hon’ble Jammu and Kashmir High Court, comprising Chief Justice Madam Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal.
The DB has declared all actions taken under the impugned law from 2001 till the day it had been repealed by the former Governor Satya Pal Malik in November 2018 as null and void and transferred all the Roshni-related FIRs from J&K’s Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) for investigation and prosecution.
The Comptroller and Auditor General of India (CAG) team had test checked the actions taken in favour of 547 beneficiaries, involving transfer of rights of 666 kanals of the illegally occupied State lands in 2013 even as the Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu had later provided details of the 20 lakh kanals of the State/government land under possession of the unauthorised occupants.
The Hon’ble court has endorsed many of the irregularities pointed out in the CAG report during the hearing of two Public Interest Litigations (PILs) which raised questions why revenue of only Rs 76 crore had been raised against the claimed target of Rs 25,448 crore; why huge rebates and extensions of operations had been granted without authority; and, why over 80% of the land had been given to the unauthorised occupants for free. The J&K High Court’s order, which may be challenged in the Supreme Court of India, will affect thousands of the beneficiaries including the UT’s principal political parties, top political families besides the business and bureaucratic elites.
Co-author of the erstwhile PDP-BJP government’s ‘Agenda of Alliance’ and the former Finance Minister Haseeb Drabu is shown to have taken rights on 1 kanal of the State land at Gogjibagh in Srinagar. While its cost had been fixed at Rs 40 lakh, Drabu paid Rs 7.50 lakh and enjoyed a rebate of Rs 32.50 lakh. Currently this land is valued at Rs 2 crore per kanal. Three more kanals of the land at the same place have been given to Drabu’s family-one each to his brother Iftikhar and Aijaz and one to his mother Shehzada-at Rs 7.50 lakh per kanal.
One of the Drabu family’s daughters, Nighat Shafi Pandit, has got proprietary rights over 1 kanal of the State land at the same rate and rebate while as her husband, Mohammad Shafi Pandit, retired IAS officer of the rank of Chief Secretary and a former Chairman of J&K Public Service Commission, rights over 1 kanal and 2 marlas, at the same rate and rebate, at the same place. Pandit has paid Rs 8.40 lakh and enjoyed a rebate of Rs 36.40 lakh.
The National Conference (NC) President and the former Chief Minister Dr Farooq Abdullah’s sister Khalida Shah, her husband and former Chief Minister Ghulam Mohammad Shah, their two sons, Muzaffar and Ifikhar, and daughter Aaliya have got 2.25 kanals of State land at Magarmalbagh in Srinagar. Dr Abdullah’s other sister, Suraiya, and niece, Nyla, have got rights over 3.65 kanals land worth Rs 3.65 crore on Gupkar Road.
A number of the close relatives of the former Chief Minister Ghulam Mohammad Shah, including former Minister Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah’s son and ex-MLA Irfan Shah, have taken rights over 8.96 kanals of land valued at Rs 5.37 crore at Magarmalbagh in Srinagar. It is currently valued at Rs 18 crore.
Bollywood actor and filmmaker Feroz Khan’s sister Dilshad and her three daughters are shown to have taken rights over 8.25 kanals of the State land at Rajbagh valued at Rs 4.62 crore. The property is currently valued at Rs 17 crore.
Eminent academic Dr Aga Ashraf Ali’s sons, the United States of America-based renowned poet Aga Shahid Ali, and his brother Aga Iqbal Ali, are shown to have taken rights over 3 kanals and 1 marla of State land valued at Rs 1.73 crore (Rs 56 lakh/kanal) at Rajbagh. They are shown to have paid Rs 32.50 lakh and enjoyed a rebate of Rs 1.40 crore. The property is currently valued at Rs 8 crore.
Dr Aga Ashraf Ali’s brother, Aga Nasir Ali, who retired at the rank of a Secretary in Government of India, is shown to have taken rights over 2 kanals of the State land at Rajbagh. He is shown to have paid Rs 21 lakh and enjoyed a rebate of Rs 91 lakh. The property is currently valued at Rs 5 crore. Aga Ali, another member of the Aga family, has been shown as the beneficiary of equal area of the State land at equal rate at the same place.
Former Director General of Police Peer Ghulam Hassan Shah’s wife Masooda and two sons, Zubair and Rafeeq, have taken rights over 2.19 kanals of the State land valued at Rs 1.43 crore at Gogjibagh, in Srinagar. They are shown to have paid Rs 26.93 lakhs and enjoyed a rebate of Rs 1.16 crore. The property is currently said to be of the market value of Rs 5.50 crore.