- Azam Khan faces over 30 cases of grabbing of government or farmer land
- He is accused of misusing his position in grabbing land of poor farmers
- "Anti-bhoo mafia" portal in UP was set up to file land-grab complaints
The district administration of Rampur, the hometown of Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan, is considering putting his name under the "land mafia" category on the Uttar Pradesh government's "anti-bhoo mafia" (anti-land mafia) portal.
The portal was set up by Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath to identify land mafia and file complaints of people over land-grab, soon after he took power in Uttar Pradesh in 2017.
According to the police, the newly elected parliamentarian faces over 30 cases, mostly linked to grabbing of either government or farmer land.
Rampur Superintendent of Police Ajay Pal Sharma said Azam Khan's name would be recommended to be listed on the land mafia portal due to his alleged involvement in land-grabbing cases.
"The District Magistrate and myself would be reviewing reports of various police stations in the district which relate to land grabbed by Azam Khan or his aides. Subsequently, his name would be recommended to be listed on the land mafia portal of the government," Ajay Pal Sharma, an Indian Police Service (IPS) officer of the Uttar Pradesh Police, told IANS.
On Friday, a case was registered against Azam Khan on the basis of an FIR (First Information Report) filed by the Revenue Department in Rampur. The FIR alleged Azam Khan and his close aide, former police officer Aalehasan Khan, grabbed land from 26 farmers and used it in the construction of Mohammed Ali Jauhar University, a mega multi-crore project of the Samajwadi leader. After the FIR was filed, 26 farmers in Rampur, who were allegedly tortured to sign a forged sale deed, would now file separate FIRs.
The complaint of the Revenue Department alleged Azam Khan misused his position (as cabinet minister of Uttar Pradesh from 2012-17) in grabbing land of poor farmers and illegally occupied another huge chunk of land measuring 5,000 hectares.
"This land comes under the riverside (of Kosi river) and cannot be acquired. However, revenue records were forged and subsequently this land, worth over several hundred crores, was illegally occupied by Jauhar Ali University," a Revenue Officer said.
According to the officer, the forged documents aimed at fraudulently enabling occupation of the riverbed, now seem to provide strong evidence against Azam Khan. Police sources said several complaints relating to other cases of land grabbing by Azam Khan or his aides have been received at the office of the Superintendent of Police, Rampur.
Supporters of Azam Khan said their leader had been the sole voice of opposition in the district and had been talking tough against the Narendra Modi government in parliament. "The action against him (Azam Khan) is not justified. He did not grab any land for his personal use," said a Samajwadi Party worker in Lucknow.