Finally, the CBI probe


Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) of India had unearthed the biggest ever scam in Jammu and Kashmir involving 3.48 lakh kanal of State land, which was approved for transfer to the illegal occupants under the much-talked about Roshni Scheme. A loss to the tune of Rs 225 crore to the State exchequer due to rebates and incentives in respect of only 666 kanal land came to the fore at the initial stage and following in-depth enquiry by the State Vigilance Commission into several thousand crores of rupees. The J&K State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 popularly known as the Roshni Act came into effect from March 1, 2002 and it was amended in 2004 and 2007. The objective of the Act was to generate funds to finance power projects in the State by granting ownership at market value to such permanent residents, who were unauthorized occupants of the State land. The Government, in November 2006, had estimated resource mobilization of about Rs 25,448 crore by selling 20,64,972 kanals State land under unauthorized occupation. By March 2013, a total of 2,54,439 applications had been received for transfer of 17,86,387 kanal land out of which 1,76,774 applications had been disposed of (including rejections) and transfer of total 3,48,160 kanal land had been approved.
In a landmark judgment, Division Bench of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal has transferred the infamous multi-crore Roshni land scam involving several high-profile persons to the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) with the direction to file Action Taken Report (ATR) after every eight weeks for monitoring by the High Court. On September 23, 2020, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice had reserved the judgment after hearing in detail the arguments. The Director of the Central Bureau of Investigation will constitute a team of officers headed by an officer not below the rank of Superintendent of Police. Moreover, the DB has directed the Chief Secretary of the Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Divisional Commissioner Jammu and all the Deputy Commissioners of 10 districts to render full assistance to the CBI and furnish all record during the investigation. It has also been made clear by the Division Bench that any officer not extending necessary cooperation to the CBI in the investigation will be held guilty of contempt of court. The CBI has further been asked to examine all the files pertaining to the prosecution sanction and take further steps accordingly. While transferring the scam to the Central Agency, the Division Bench also dealt with several applications including an application highlighting encroachment of 154 kanals of Jammu Development Authority (JDA) land at Deeli and also encroachments on 66,000 kanals of JDA land in Jammu and Samba districts and accordingly passed certain directions. On September 23, 2020, the DB had expressed serious concern over the slackness on the part of Anti-Corruption Bureau in investigating the scam, which caused loss of several thousand crores of rupees to the exchequer of Jammu and Kashmir. The DB had also expressed anguish over slow pace of investigation in 10 out of 17 FIRs registered by the then State Vigilance Organization (presently Anti-Corruption Bureau). These FIRs are 8/2009 registered by Police Station Vigilance Organization Kashmir, 6/2014, 16/2014, 3/2015, 4/2015, 5/2015, 23/2015 registered by Police Station Vigilance Organization Jammu, 17/2014, 26/2015 and 18/2016 registered by Police Station Vigilance Organization Kashmir.

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