Patnitop land grab case: CBI searches at 11 locations


NEW DELHI, Aug 4: In a major crackdown, the CBI on Tuesday conducted searches at 11 locations in Jammu and Kashmir, including the residential premises of three former CEOs of the Patnitop Development Authority booked in a case of land encroachment along with 71 others, officials said.
The searches were conducted at the official and residential premises of public servants, including former CEOs of Patnitop Development Authority (PDA) K K Gupta, MA Malik and SM Sahni. These were at 11 locations across the Union Territory, including Jammu, Udhampur and Kathua districts, they said.
The CBI had conducted a preliminary enquiry on the directions of the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir following which an FIR has been registered, they said.
The probe agency has named five more public servants in the case Rakesh Kumar Sarangal, Additional Commi-ssioner, Jammu; Raman Kumar Kesar, Joint Transport Commissioner; Rajendra Singh, Deputy Commissioner Sales Tax Recovery; and then Inspectors (PDA) Avish Jasrotia and Zaheer Abbas, they said.
Besides, 66 owners of hotels, resorts, guest houses have also been booked on the allegations of large scale illegal construction/encroachment of land in the tourist location of Patnitop area of Udhampur District, CBI spokesperson RK Gaur said.
Braving the snow and COVID-19 situation, a large team of 30 CBI officials had camped in Patnitop and neighbouring areas for over a month to complete the preliminary enquiry ordered by Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
After the culmination of the enquiry, the CBI had gathered enough material to proceed against officials and hotel and resort owners who were allegedly party to the criminal conspiracy to grab forest and agricultural land in violation of the norms, they said.
Roles of more officials including those from Building Operations Controlling Authority (BOCA) are under the scanner of the agency, they said.
"It was further alleged that many Hotels/Guest Houses were constructed without any permission and were not registered with PDA. 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," Gaur said.

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