Srinagar: In an apparent dig at the leader of opposition in Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad, former union water resources minister Saif-ud-din Soz welcomed the CBI probe into the Roshni scheme launched by the Congress-led Jammu and Kashmir government in 2007.
“Chief Justice Geeta Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal have delivered a landmark judgment by turning down the Roshni Act describing it unconstitutional and illegal. Under the scheme, the then government transferred 20 lakh kanalsstate land valued at Rs 25000 crores to underserved vested interests, almost free of cost,” he said.
Azad led Congress-PDP government had launched the much-hyped Roshni scheme in 2007 under which 21.5 lakh kanals (20 kanals form one hectare) of government land was distributed among the people almost free of cost.
Gulmarg land scam surfaced in 2009 after State Vigilance Organization (SVO) registered a case after conducting the preliminary verification in the allegation of misuse of the position by the officials of the revenue and tourism department in the vesting of ownership rights to the beneficiaries on the land in Gulmarg estate.
The petitioners later went to the high court seeking quashing of the FIR on the grounds that it does not disclose the commission of offence under the Prevention of Corruption Act.
The SVO in their response to the court stated that it was prima facie established that the public servants of the revenue and tourism department had wilfully ignored the procedure and manipulated the records and illegally vested proprietary rights in favour of the beneficiary petitioners.
“I want to remind the people that I had raised a strong voice against this deal which has now been declared illegal and unconstitutional. Once the then Minister of Revenue had assured me that my plea would be accepted. But alas! vested interests were very strong. Now, the long hands who had maneuvered the allotment of land illegally and unconstitutionally must come forward to tender an apology to the people of the state,” he said.
Soz also congratulated advocate Ankur Sharma of Jammu for proving that thousands of kanals of land had been allotted to underserved people enjoying the support of the vested interests.