New Delhi, Nov 24 :Accusing Congress and National Conference leaders of encroaching large tracts of government and forest land in Jammu and Kashmir, senior BJP leader and Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad on Tuesday demanded a thorough probe into the alleged ‘Roshni scam’.
He also hit out at NC leader and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah for allegedly encroaching on government land in Jammu to build his residence.
He said that names of several top politicians and some retired bureaucrats have come to the fore for allegedly benefiting from the Roshni Act, which has since been struck down by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court.
The Jammu and Kashmir State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 is also known as the Roshni Act.
“There was a conscious loot by powerful people of forest land and getting benefits under the Roshni Act, which has been declared unconstitutional by the high court,” Prasad told reporters.
The Union minister said it is the lowest ebb in a democratic polity. “We condemn it outright,” he added.
Demanding a thorough probe, Prasad said the land should be taken back from the beneficiaries as directed by the high court.
He said while declaring the law unconstitutional, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had said that the names of people who had acquired land under the Act be listed and made public.
“Names of various politicians of the state have appeared in that list,” he said, naming various Congress and NC leaders including Haseeb Drabu, Majid Wani and Sajjad Kichloo.
It is very unfortunate that key leaders of Jammu and Kashmir including Farooq Abdullah used their influence and power for “land grabbing and appropriated government land,” he said.
However, Abdullah’s son and former chief minister Omar Abdullah, while reacting to the list, denied that his father benefited from the Roshni Act.
Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have been named by the Jammu and Kashmir administration in a list which alleges that their residential house in Jammu is built over illegally-possessed land, a charge denied by the father-son duo.
The administration of the union territory as directed by the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to make public land given under the controversial Roshni land scheme, came out with the list of beneficiaries.
On Tuesday, it came out with another list of those who had allegedly encroached land other than that given under the scheme.