May 13, 2021

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Farooq Abdullah among Roshni ‘Beneficiaries’, Jammu house built on encroached land says JK admin list

Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have been named by the Jammu and Kashmir administration in a list which alleges that their residential house in Jammu is built over illegally-possessed land, a charge denied by the father-son duo.

The administration of the Union Territory as directed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to make public land given under the controversial Roshni land scheme, since scrapped by a court, came out with the list of beneficiaries. On Tuesday, it came out with a list of those who had allegedly encroached land other than those given under the scheme.

The list also highlighted the headquarters of their National Conference in both Srinagar and Jammu were legalised under the controversial Roshni Act.

Displaying the lists on its website—one showing encroached land outside Roshni Act, the divisional administration Jammu revealed that the residential house of the Abdullahs, built over an area of nearly an acre at Sunjwan, is encroached state land (physically encroached but not shown in revenue record) other than Roshi Act.

Reacting to the fresh list, party vice president Omar Abdullah said, “The news attributing to sources that Dr Farooq Abdullah is a beneficiary of the Roshni Act is completely false and is being spread with a malicious intent. Both his houses at Jammu and Srinagar have nothing to do with the said Act.

“Dr Farooq Abdullah has NOT availed of the Roshni Scheme for either his residence in Srinagar or in Jammu and anyone who says otherwise is lying. The fact that they are using sources to plant this story shows that it has no legs to stand on,” Omar said.

The house of senior Abdullah was built in late 1990s for which timber was allocated from the government depots, which is issued only after furnishing all revenue records, officials in the know said.

Earlier, three former ministers, several politicians and a former bureaucrat figured in the list of beneficiaries who have availed land under now scrapped Roshni Act or encroached state land for residential or commercial purposes.

The lists were made public by the divisional administration, both in Kashmir and Jammu regions, in accordance with the October 9 directive of the high court which has declared Roshni Act “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of the land under this law.

Issuing the first list of 35 beneficiaries who included former finance minister Haseeb Drabu and some top hoteliers and a former bureaucrat, the divisional administration Kashmir showed that National Conference headquarters, several hotels and over a dozen commercial buildings at prime locations in and around Lal Chowk have been regularised under the act.

Majority of the beneficiaries, including Drabu and his wife, have one Kanal of land under residential use, while Congress leader KK Amla is the owner of Broadway hotel and prominent businessman Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya owns a guest house and a hotel.

On November 1, the Union Territory government cancelled all land transfers that took place under the JK State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 — also known as the Roshni Act—under which 2.5 lakh acres of land was to be transferred to the existing occupants.

The principal secretary and revenue department has been asked to work out a plan to retrieve large tracts of state land vested under the Act.

According to the high court order, a total of 6,04,602 kanals (75,575 acres) of state land had been regularised and transferred to the occupants. This included 5,71,210 kanals (71,401 acres) in Jammu and 33,392 kanals (4174 acres) in the Kashmir province.

Meanwhile, The National Conference today rejected the BJP’s accusations that their president and former JK Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah had “variously” benefitted from the Roshni Act.

The NC said Abdullah was not a beneficiary of the law and anyone claiming so was “lying.”

False charges
Dr Farooq Abdullah has not availed of the Roshni scheme for either his residence in Srinagar or in Jammu and anyone who says otherwise is lying.— The statement

“The news that party president and Srinagar MP Dr Farooq Abdullah is a beneficiary of the Roshni Scheme is completely false and is being spread with a malicious intent. Dr Farooq Abdullah has not availed of the Roshni scheme for either his residence in Srinagar or in Jammu and anyone who says otherwise is lying,” the NC said in a statement.

The party did not answer the specific accusations levelled by Law Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad who said “powerful people in JK indulge in brazen loot of forest land.” Prasad also alleged that Abdullah used Roshni scheme to buy a certain quantum of land in Jammu and ended up encroaching much more land than he originally paid for.“The fact that they are using sources to plant this story shows that it has no legs to stand on,” the statement said.

Biggest land scam
They (Farooq Abdullah and others) should explain to the people of India as to why they grabbed state lands and made laws to legalise occupancy while they served the state for three generations.

—Anurag Thakur, Union Minister

The Jammu and Kashmir administration has released a list of beneficiaries under the Roshni Act. The list includes former ministers, bureaucrats, police officers, prominent businessmen and political parties.