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HindustanTimes Fri,18 Apr 2014

SC seeks reply from Centre, Jindal on mosque demolition

PTI  New Delhi, August 23, 2013
First Published: 20:47 IST(23/8/2013) | Last Updated: 20:48 IST(23/8/2013)

The Supreme Court on Friday sought response from the Centre on a public interest litigation (PIL) alleging that a Jindal Group firm illegally demolished a 16th century mosque in collusion with the Rajasthan government to facilitate mining operations in Bhilwara district.

The apex court also issued notice and sought the response of Congress MP and chairman of Jindal Steel and Power Ltd (JSPL) Naveen Jindal, who has been accused in the PIL of allegedly influencing the state administration on the issue.

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A bench of justices BS Chauhan and SA Bobde tagged the petition filed by Bhilwara-based Qaumi Action Committee, an unregistered association of Muslims, with a related pending PIL on which the apex court on April 8 had issued notices to all respondents including ministries of mines, environment and forests, minority affairs, home affairs, along with the Rajasthan government.

The petitioners have also made Jindal Saw Ltd, JSPL, the Wakf Board in Jaipur, Bhilwara district collectorate and the National Commission for Minorities as respondents in the petition.
Senior advocate V Giri and Farooq Rasheed contended that Umar Mohammed Nilgar, who is a petitioner and also a witness to the demolition of the mosque, was being threatened against deposing in the case.

The PIL has alleged that the Jindal Group not only demolished the Qualandari Mosque but also obtained mining lease of an area which included a Muslim graveyard and the same is mutated in the name of JSL by the state government.

The petitioner sought a CBI probe in the matter. He said action should be taken against officials of the state government and JSL and sought scrapping of the mining lease granted to the company in 2010.

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