Seven booked by ACB in J-K for illegal land mutations

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The Anti Corruption Bureau on Wednesday booked seven people, including three former government officials, in a case related to illegal mutation of land title in Katra town, the base camp for pilgrims visiting Vaishno Devi shrine in Reasi district of Jammu and Kashmir.

After registration of the case, searches were carried out by seven teams in Reasi, Udhampur and Jammu districts, leading to the seizure of “incriminating material and documents” as evidence, a spokesman of the Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) said.

He said among the accused in the case include Naib Tehsildar Katra Nek Ram; then executive officer, Municipal Committee (MC) Katra, Ravi Kumar; then Inspector MC Katra, presently posted as Khilaf Warzi officer MC Samba, Ashwani Kumar; and then president MC Katra Mulkh Raj Sharma.

Jugal Kishore of Udhampur, and Sat Paul and Kailash Nath Pangotra of Jammu were the other persons named in the FIR, the spokesman said.

The case was registered following a preliminary inquiry by the ACB regarding the role of MC Katra officials and revenue department Katra after a commercial superstructure was erected on a state land measuring five Marlas in Katra town by Satpal in violation of the provisions of J&K Control of Building Operation Act (COBA), 1988.

“The inquiry revealed that the piece of land in question was allotted to one Fazlu in 1964 under a scheme to rehabilitate the landless downtrodden community of sweepers. But the ownership rights regarding the said land were never conferred upon him and therefore, the same could not be sold to any person,” the spokesman said.

In 1999, he said, then Naib Tehsildar Nek Ram, without any legal justification, changed entries with respect to the land and entered the name of one Jugal Kishore, who subsequently raised the double storey superstructure over the said land without obtaining building permission from the MC Katra.

It has also been found that on March 22, 2006, Kishore sold the land along with the erected structure to Sat Paul and Pangotra for consideration of Rs 11 lakh through an agreement to sell, duly notarized, however no change was effected in the revenue records in favour of Sat Paul and Kailash Nath, the spokesman said.

He said notices under various sections of the J&K Control of Building Operation Act were issued by the Municipal Committee Katra clandestinely in the name of Ashok Kumar in connection with the construction.

Taking advantage of the “clandestine and superficial process” adopted by MC Katra, Kishore approached the MC for a proper building permission, whereby, his application for building permission with incomplete documents were also issued and shown dispatched.

“The inquiry also revealed that due to deliberate inaction on part of Municipal Authorities Katra, the construction work was allowed to continue under the garb of the pendency of application for permission,” the ACB spokesman said.

However, a fresh report was submitted by Khilaf Warzi Inspector wherein illegal construction of Guest House with changed nomenclature was reported, whereupon again a notice was issued to Sat Paul and Kailash Nath to discontinue the construction and show cause as to why the illegal construction be not demolished.