J-K Governor orders probe into ‘land-grab’ cases
Jammu and Kashmir governor Satya Pal Malik has ordered a probe by the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) into alleged instances of cornering high-value prime land in Jammu and Srinagar cities by misusing a now-repealed law.
Governor Malik ordered the probe on a spate of complaints of cornering prime pieces of land by irregular or fraudulent implementation of the now repealed law, which had been enacted to tackle encroachments by giving land rights to its occupants on payment of market price.
Malik ordered that all matters relating to the irregular or fraudulent implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act, 2001, also known as Roshni Act, be investigated in detail by the ACB.
The law was enacted by the Farooq Abdullah-led government and aimed at cutting down the encroachment of state land by selling it to the occupants at market rate, it added. The law envisaged enriching the public exchequer by ~25,000 crore by transferring 20 lakh ‘kanals’ of land to its occupants. One ‘kanal’ is around 506 square metre.
The complaints alleged that several pieces of high-value plots in Jammu and Srinagar were procured illegally or fraudulently by individuals, not entitled to any benefit under the law. In the wake of such reports, Malik repealed the Act in 2018, stopping all further proceedings under it to ensure that no further fraud takes place.