BJP Minister In J&K In Vigilance Net For Land Grab
Muslim face of BJP in Jammu and Kashmir charged with corruption
SRINAGAR: The Bharatiya Janata Party's only Muslim face in the cabinet and Jammu and Kashmir Transport minister, Abdul Gani Kohli, has landed in vigilance net for alleged land grabbing in Jammu.
A petition has been filed in the High Court in Jammu against Kohli, accusing him of grabbing more than 10 kanals of forest land on Khasra No 356 situated at Nowabad in Sunjwan in Jammu.
The petitioner has sought registration of FIR under Section 5(2) J&K Prevention of Corruption Act against Kohli and officers of the revenue and forest department for land grabbing.
Although the court had ordered a preliminary inquiry into the case and directed the State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) to submit a status report on the case, the organisation has not acted so far.
The petition comes in the backdrop of an anti-encroachment drive by the government to wrest back hundreds of acres of forest land presently under occupation of residents of the state.
The government had issued an order in April for reclaiming the forest land from four, predominantly Muslim populated areas in Jammu, sparking anguish and resentment among the residents there.
Kohli, the only Muslim face from the BJP in the chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed's cabinet, had joined hands with the nomadic people of Jammu who were protesting against the government's order of vacating their homes, saying that the government must consider their plight.
"These people have been living in these areas for decades and the government must consider the consequences of removing them without rehabilitation," he had said.
Ankur Sharma, a resident of Jammu, who filed the petition alleged in the High Court on Tuesday that the SVO should have, according to law, finalised the preliminary enquiry within seven days.
"But neither the FIR was registered nor the preliminary enquiry was finalised solely because of the reason that the accusations were directed against the high profile sitting transport minister," the petitioner told the court.
Justice Bansi Lal Bhat of J&K High Court directed the director and senior superintendent of police (Vigilance Organisation), Jammu, to submit a report within two weeks on the status of the preliminary enquiry initiated on the petitioner’s complaint.
The case has been listed for hearing on July 23.