This Article is From Nov 25, 2020

"Falsehood", Says Farooq Abdullah On Land Scam Allegations: 10 Points

In 1996, then government of Jammu and Kashmir had launched the Roshni scheme to regularize illegal occupants of state land,

'Falsehood', Says Farooq Abdullah On Land Scam Allegations: 10 Points

"I have purchased every inch of land where my house was built," Farooq Abdullah has said.

Srinagar: Former Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah has strongly denied administration's claims that his residence in Jammu stands on illegally grabbed land. "I have purchased every inch of land where my house was built in 1998. Falsehood is being unleashed to defame me," Mr Abdullah told NDTV after a list from the administration naming encroachers was made public last evening. The administration came up with the additional list after directions from the High Court to produce a list of beneficiaries under the Roshni land scheme of 1996, which has now been scrapped. Calling it a "Rs 25,000 crore land scam", then Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satyapal Malik, had repealed the Roshni Act in 2018.

Here are the top 10 points in this big story:

  1. The list from the Jammu and Kashmir administration also says the headquarters of the National Conference in both Srinagar and Jammu were legalised under the controversial Roshni Act. The National Conference has denied the allegations, saying it is false and spread with malicious intent.

  2. Denying the administration's claims, National Conference chief Omar Abdullah said, "Dr Farooq Abdullah has not availed of the Roshni Scheme for either his residence in Srinagar or in Jammu and anyone who says otherwise is lying. The fact that they are using sources to plant this story shows that it has no legs to stand on".

  3. The BJP has launched a strong attack on Farooq Abdullah, the leader of People's Alliance which has decided to contest the local polls. Union minister Ravi Shankar Prasad has accused Mr Abdullah of building his residential house in Jammu after grabbing forest land and state land.

  4. Ahead of local elections, the list of alleged land grabbers released by the government has rattled political parties. The list includes the names of several political leaders, former bureaucrats and businessmen.

  5. In 2001, the  J&K legislative assembly passed the Act to give ownership rights to holders of  state land under the Roshni scheme. The government wanted to raise Rs 25,000 crore to build hydropower projects. The successive governments amended the Act and sold the land on concessional rates.  The transfer of land began in 2007.

  6. In 2018, then Governor Satya Pal Malik repealed the Roshni Act and cancelled all pending applications. "The implementation of the scheme has been such that it has proved to be a Rs 25,000 crore scam... When I came here, the first thing I did was to end the Roshni scheme and we handed the Roshni cases to the ACB for investigation," he said in December last year.

  7. Last month, the High Court declared J&K State Land (vesting of ownership to the occupants) Act, commonly known as Roshni Act of 2001, as unconstitutional. The court also said all lands given under it will be declared null.

  8. The court had asked the government to publish the names of political leaders and influential people who have been given land at throwaway prices and recover the land from illegal occupiers.

  9. Earlier this month, the case was also handed over to the Central Bureau of Investigation, which has already filed four separate cases.

  10. Last month, the Centre had notified a new law to integrate the Union territory with the rest of the country, which allows anyone to purchase urban land and immovable property in Jammu and Kashmir. Earlier, only residents of Jammu and Kashmir were allowed to purchase land in the state.

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