SAC initiates probe against former Congress Minister

'Suman Baghat Possesses Property Disproportionate To Her Known Sources Of Income'


Srinagar, Dec 28: Jammu and Kashmir State Accountability Commission (SAC) Friday ordered a regular inquiry against former Health Minister Suman Lata Baghat for allegedly owning property disproportionate to her known sources of income and misusing her official position.
 The inquiry has been ordered by SAC Full Bench comprising Justice (retd) Y P Nargotra and Justice (retd) Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain after conducting preliminary inquiry into the allegations leveled against the former minister. The complainant, Vivek Bharti, had accused the former minister of amassing wealth and making immoveable property by illegal means while misusing her official position.
 “We find the allegations prima facie substantiated against the respondent, justifying a regular inquiry in terms of Section 13 of the J&K Accountability Commission Act. We direct the office to register the complaint for regular inquiry,” the order passed by the Commission reads.
 The Commission has served a notice to Suman asking her to present her defense on the next date of hearing scheduled for February 7, 2013.
 During the preliminary probe, the Commission concluded that Bhagat Chajju Ram Charitable Trust did not have requisite amount to pay premium of Rs 39. 50 lakh to Jammu Development Authority for the land measuring 7.9 Kanals leased to it. These observations were made by the Commission after going through annual income and expenditure statements of 2007-08 and 2008-09 of the Trust.
 “It is evident that the Trust did not have the amount of Rs 39.50 lakhs in its credit nor any loans had been obtained during that period for investing in or creating any immoveable property, despite that the sole trustee of the Trust, (the respondent) has admittedly paid the said amount for acquiring the land measuring 7.9 Kanals from JDA,” the order passed by the Commission reads.
 The Commission observed that “it appears that the main function of the Trust of which the respondent is the sole trustee was to create immoveable property.”
 The Commission noted that “the Trust created with a corpus of just Rs one lakh in 2005 was able to purchase land for more than half a crore, whereas no activity from which the Trust could have earned any substantial amount of money is shown to have been carried out and nothing seems to have been spent for the welfare of the envisaged beneficiaries by the Trust.”
 “M/S Guru Institute from which a loan of Rs 27 lakhs is shown to have been raised is the institute, according to the complainant and not denied by the respondent, run by her son,” the Commission stated.
 “The first allegation thus seems to be established prima facie that under the garb of running a Trust, black money earned by use of unlawful means was being channelized by investigating the same in purchase of plots and land,” the Commission further held.
 The anti-graft body also stated that leasing of six Kanals of land to Suman’s son, Neeraj Behal, and his partner Kulbir Choudary in SIDCO industrial complex, Jammu, needs to be inquired into to see “whether it was coincidence or an official favour to the son of the Minister.”
 The Commission while going through another allegation leveled by the complainant that the Minister had encroached upon and purchased more than 400 Kanals of land held that the matter needs to be inquired into.
 “The respondent while denying the allegation has asserted that some land had been purchased by the Trust. Since the respondent is the sole trustee of the said Trust, the questions as to how much land has been purchased, for what purpose it has been purchased and from where the money came for purchasing the land need answers. It is also relevant to see as to how much property stands acquired by her son during the period she was public functionary,” the order reads.
 The Commission also said that Suman admitted of making nominations in excess of the permissible limit in AMT Paramedical School Srinagar.
 “The respondent has not denied the fact of having made nominations in excess of permissible limit, the allegation therefore, on the question as to whether it constitutes corruption deserves inquiry,” the Commission observed.

Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Dec 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Dec 2012 00:00:00 IST

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