CBI raids residence of owner of Hatric Group of Companies

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Showkat Choudhary was conferred ownership rights under Roshini scheme on a piece of land leased to Mehboob Beigh in 1977; Case registered against six officials including 3 ex-IAS officers

Srinagar, Jun 19: The Central Bureau of Investigation on Sunday raided the residence of Muhammad Showkat Choudhary, owner of Hatric Group of Companies, as part of its investigation in Roshini land scam, days after it registered a case against six officials including three former IAS officers for giving him ownership rights on a piece of land under the Roshini Act despite the fact that the original lease was in the name of Mehboob Afzal Beigh.

Highly placed sources told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO) that anti-corruption branch of CBI carried out searches today at the residence of Showkat Choudhary after the CBI registered an FIR against six officials who were part of the committee which approved ownership rights on piece of the land to him under Roshini Act.

According to preliminary investigation carried out by CBI, a piece of land measuring four kanals under survey no. 1347 min and 1364 min of the Estate Nursing Garh, Tehsil Srinagar was leased out to Mehboob Beigh and Mumtaaz Afzal Beigh in 1977.

The lease of the said land was to expire in the year 2020.

The probe has revealed that on August 6, 2001 Mehboob Beigh and Mumtaaz Afzal Beigh handed over eight marlas out of the said four kanals to Mohammed Showkat Chaudhary by virtue of irrevocable Power of Attorney.

The probe suggests that Showkat Chaudhary, the power of attorney holder later applied for conferment of ownership rights under the Roshni on February 24, 2004.

On this application, the then Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar in its letter on October 8, 2004 addressed to Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir mentioned that the case cannot be considered for ownership rights as the land in question is on the important road and is within 50 feet from the center of the road.

The Price Fixation Committee (PFC) in its meeting dated March 30, 2005 recommended the case of applicant to the extent, that this land is not required for road widening and is not hit by the provisions of Ribbon development Act.

However, the Assistant Commissioner (N) on June 6, 2005 recommended that the land measuring 08 Marlas under survey no.1347 min and 1364 min of the Estate Nursing Garh, Tehsil Srinagar to be considered for conferment of ownership under Roshni Act.

Thereafter, the case of the applicant was again deliberated by another Price Fixation Committee in its meeting held on July 11, 2007 under the chairmanship of Mehboob Iqbal( divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and other members Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal(then DC Srinagar),Muhammed Afzal Bhat, (then Additional Commissioner Kashmir), Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, (then Assistant Commissioner (Revenue) Srinagar), Muhammed Akram Khan(then tehsildar (Nazool), Srinagar) and Sheikh Muneer Akhtar( then Tehsildar, Srinagar).

The committee discussed the case and approved ownsership rights on piece of the land to Choudhary.

“A rate of Rs 60 lakh per kanal was adopted and applicant considered as “un-authorized occupant” i.e. under 13 II (iii) of J& K State Lands Rule 2007 and the applicant has to pay Rs.14,40,000/- i.e. 60% of the adopted rate (for land measuring 08 Marlas),” the CBI probe suggests.

According to the CBI investigation, the case was considered for conferment of ownership rights under the Roshni scheme in favor of Chaudhary despite the fact that the original lease was in the name of Mehboob Afzal Beigh and Mumtaaz Afzal Beigh.

“The PFC considered the applicant as “unauthorized occupant” in violation of Roshni Act. On the basis of PFC approval, the deputy commissioner, Srinagar later vested the ownership rights of land measuring 08 marlas in favour of Chaudhary illegally and in violation of Roshni Act,” the CBI probe reveals.

The CBI has registered a case under section 5 (2) and 5 (1) (d) of J&K PC Act Section 120-B of RPC against Mehboob Iqbal, Sheikh Ejaz Iqbal, Muhammed Afzal Bhat, Mushtaq Ahmad Malik, Mohammed Akram Khan, Sheikh Muneer Akhtar—(KNO)