Minister Kohli Caught Up In Land Grab Row
7 July 2015
: Minister for Transport Abdul Gani Kohli is likely to be questioned by the State Vigilance Organization (SVO) as the state court has asked the anti-graft body to submit a status report about the encroachment of forest land by the incumbent minister, who is also a BJP leader from Jammu's Muslim dominated Pir Panjal Valley. Justice Bansi Lal Bhat of J&K High Court (Jammu Wing) has directed Director and Senior Superintendent of Police, Vigilance Organization Jammu to submit within two weeks the status of the preliminary inquiry initiated on petitioner's complaint dated June 2015 which is directed against Abdul Ghani Kohli Minister for Transport J&K Government. The petitioner has alleged that the said Minister had grabbed-encroached more than 10 Kanals of Forest Land comprised Khasra Number 356 min situated at Nowabad (Sunjwan), District Jammu. After hearing Ankur Sharma-petitioner in person, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat issued notices to the Commissioner-Secretary, General Administration Department, Director, State Vigilance Organization and SSP VOJ which were accepted in the open court by AAG P.C. Sharma and the Court issued directions to the SVO to file the status of petitioner's complaint within two weeks and also directed the Registry to list this matter for further consideration on July, 23, 2015. When this petition came up for hearing the petitioner drew the attention of the Court towards his complaint dated June, 16, 2015 which he had filed before Director SVO and SSP VOJ wherein he sought registration of FIR under Section 5(2) J&K Prevention of Corruption Act against the sitting Cabinet Minister Abdul Ghani Kohli and officers- officials of the Revenue-Forest Department for grabbing more than 10 Kanals of Forest Land comprised in Khasra No.356 min situated at Nowabad (Sunjwan), District Jammu. The petitioner vehemently argued that as per the directions of the Supreme Court in case titled Lalita Kumari V-s State of UP the Vigilance Organization was under a bounden obligation to register the FIR against the high profile Minister as his complaint discloses the commission of cognizable offences or in the alternative the SVO should have finalized the preliminary enquiry within seven days as prescribed by the Hon'ble Apex Court but neither the FIR was registered nor the preliminary enquiry was finalized solely because of the reason that the accusations were directed against the high profile sitting Transport Minister of the State. The petitioner further submitted that the Transport Minister has raised huge infrastructure on the Forest Land in the shape of a B.Ed College, Paramedical Institute, Branch of J&K Bank Ltd. alongwith an ATM and the SVO seems to be under pressure to proceed against the sitting Minister as the officers of the SVO are accountable to the General Administration Department (GAD) being the servants of the State. During the course of arguments the petitioner pressed for the constant monitoring of the ongoing preliminary enquiry by the State High Court looking into the gravity of the allegations and the position enjoyed by the encroacher. After considering the submissions of the petitioner-Ankur Sharma and AAG P.C. Sharma, Justice Bansi Lal Bhat in the open court observed that the petitioner is apprehensive of the probe getting derailed looking into the position enjoyed by A.G. Kohli and issued directions in the open court to the SVO to submit before the Court the status of the preliminary enquiry within two weeks and further directed the Registry to list this petition for further consideration on July, 23 this month. (CNS) 600 acres state land reclaimed Brick kilns asked to close shop Budgam: The drive initiated to retrieve Kahcharia-state land from encroachers in various areas of District Budgam is in full swing. Giving details about the results yielded so far in this operation, the District Development Commissioner Mir Altaf said while chairing the meeting convened, in this regard here that so far the District Administration has succeeded in retrieving 4953 kanal of Kahcharia land from encroachers besides 402 kanal of state land illegally grabbed by miscreants has also been retrieved. The District Development Commissioner said that drive initiated will continue with more vigour as tremendous response has been shown by people from all walks of life. While appealing general public as well as all stake holders to co-operate with the administration in making this initiative a success. He assured that action carried out in this regard will be without bias or any discrimination. Further he said the drive is also to clear the embankments of river Jhelum from illegal construction and land grabbers in the areas where it is touching the boundaries of distinct Budgam. During the meeting, the District Development Commissioner stressed for full implementation of PSGA so that people in general could utilize the services guaranteed under the act. Giving clear warning to the illegally running brick kilns in the district to close them forthwith or if there is any documentation process going on for some kilns they should follow the prescribed procedures strictly and complete the process as early as possible. However, any one not adhering to the guidelines is liable for punishment warranted under rules including the arrest of the concerned, he added During the meeting the District Development Commissioner also reviewed the status of Aadhar Card issuance in the district. Referring to the status of cutting of Russian poplar trees in the district, he said that teams have been constituted under the supervision of Revenue authorities in the concerned areas and the efforts are on to spread the drive in more and more areas.