J&K Governor Satya Pal Mail has ordered an ACB probe into alleged instances of cornering high-value prime land in Jammu and Srinagar cities by misusing a now-repealed law. Governor Malik ordered the probe on a spate of complaints of cornering prime pieces of land by irregular or fraudulent implementation of the now repealed law, which had been enacted to tackle encroachments by giving land rights to its occupants on payment of market price.
Malik ordered that all matters relating to the irregular or fraudulent implementation of the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (Vesting of Ownership to Occupants) Act, 2001 also known as Roshni Act be investigated in detail by the Anti-Corruption Bureau, a government statement said. The law was enacted by the state government under Farooq Abdullah and was aimed at cutting down the encroachment of state land by selling it to the occupants at market rate, it added.
The law envisaged enriching the public exchequer by Rs 25,000 crore by transferring 20 lakh 'kanals' of land to its occupants. One 'kanal' is around 506 square metre. The complaints alleged that several pieces of high-value plots in Jammu and Srinagar districts have been procured illegally or fraudulently by individuals, not entitled to any benefit under the law.
In the wake of reports of the misuse of the law, Governor Malik had repealed the Roshni Act prospectively in 2018, stopping all further proceedings under it to ensure that no further fraud takes place in garb of the legal provisions, the statement said. Despite the repeal of the law, the complaint about the past irregularities, especially related to the misuse in the prime lands in Jammu and Srinagar, kept reaching the governor's office.
Accordingly, the governor decided to launch a full-fledged probe into the matter. PTI SKL ABS RAX
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