The CBI probe into the ₹25,000-crore Roshni land scam is likely the biggest fraud in collusion with political leaders in the history of Jammu and Kashmir, official sources said.
Allotment of around 99 kanals (or 12 acres) of prime land, by leaders of the National Conference, PDP and the Congress, senior retired bureaucrats, hoteliers is currently under the scanner.
Prominent political leaders named in the case include former state finance minister Haseeb Drabu,Krishen Amla, a prominent businessman whose family is known for close links to the top leadership of the Congress party, imminent businessmen Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya and former senior bureaucrat Mohd Shafi Pandit.
The party headquarters of the regional National Conference at the ‘Nawa-e-Subha’ complex in Srinagar was constructed on state land after its ownership was transferred to the trustees. The Congress party owns one of the costliest pieces of real estate in the heart of Srinagar city under ‘Khidmat Trust’ whose ownership was transferred to the trustee under the Act. The National Conference headquarters, “Sher-e-Kashmir Bhawan’ in Jammu also exists on state land transferred through allotment made under the Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, also known as the Roshni Act,
The Jammu and Kashmir High Court in October had ordered a CBI probe into Roshni scam. It declared all allotments made under the legislation “void” from the beginning after a PIL on alleged encroachment based on a Comptroller and Auditor General (CAG) report was submitted before it.
The Roshni Act was enacted during Farooq Abdullah’s tenure as chief minister and was expected to generate Rs 25,000 crore in revenue by transferring 2.5 lakh acres of state land to existing occupants against payment at market rates. A 2014 report by the CAG estimated that only Rs 76 crore had been realised from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013. The government not only declared the act null and void, but it also decided to retrieve all the land sold under this act within the next six months.
In a recent interview to-News18, the J&K lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha had commented on the allegedly fraudulent allotments under the scheme, “The government was meant to give this land for setting up of industries, hospitals and parks under this act. But influential people got this land for peanuts,” Sinha said in an interview earlier this month.