3 former CEOs of Patnitop authority among 72 booked for encroachmentUpdated: Aug 04, 2020 23:42 IST
New Delhi: The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) has filed a case against 74 people, including three former CEOs of Patnitop Development Authority (PDA), in connection with alleged illegal constructions and encroachment of land in Jammu & Kashmir’s resort town of Patnitop, officials aware of the matter said. As many as 62 owners, partners of various hotels, resorts, guest houses and cottages in Patnitop have also been booked.
Residences and offices of the three, K K Gupta, MA Malik, and SM Sahni, were among the premises the CBI raided at 11 locations on Tuesday in Jammu, Udhampur, Kathua.
CBI registered the case on August 1 on the basis of a preliminary inquiry launched in January this year on the directions of Jammu & Kashmir high court to investigate the irregularities.
It has also named five public servants, Rakesh Kumar Sarangal, Raman Kumar Kesar, Rajendra Singh, Avish Jasrotia, and Zaheer Abbas, as accused.
HT could not locate any of the accused for a comment.
CBI spokesman R K Gaur said: “It was alleged that the public servants having dominion/jurisdiction over land in Patnitop, in conspiracy with the owners/proprietors of the hotels/guest houses/resorts, etc. had allowed illegal construction/illegal use of the said land in violation of the law, leading to loss to the government.” Gaur added many constructions were also allegedly carried without PDA’s permission. “It was also alleged that officials did not take any action despite being aware of such encroachment. In some cases, no compounding fee was allegedly deposited by the hotels.”
According to CBI’s First Information Report (FIR), out of 59 hotels, guest houses and resorts under probe, only 21 were registered with the tourism department. But their period for registration has expired and they were being illegally run without permission, it added. “Besides, there are eight hotels/guest houses/resorts who have not been issued any registration and the same are being run illegally.”
The FIR said around 17 hotels, which have been granted permission to operate as guest houses, were being run like hotels.
The high court ordered the probe after Patnitop’s Hotel and Restaurant Association filed a plea alleging violations to the area’s masterplan. The plea claimed 70% of hotels and restaurants were constructed without permission.