JAMMU, Sept 15: The Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) today conducted simultaneous raids at 10 locations in Jammu and Kathua districts including two houses and a Trust owned by former Minister and ex-Lok Sabha MP Choudhary Lal Singh and his wife Kanta Andotra, former MLA, and officers, one of them a former Deputy Commissioner of Kathua, in connection with major land scam by the Trust.
The CBI is also investigating the role of an IAS officer in the land scam, official sources told the JKUT NEWS.
The CBI conducted the raids after converting its Preliminary Enquiry (PE) into First Information Report (FIR) No. 5/2020 under various Sections registered against RV Educational Trust whose Chairperson happens to be Kanta Andotra.
Raids were conducted at Jammu and Kathua residences of Lal Singh and the Trust building at Kathua besides residential premises of Ajay Singh Jamwal, the then Deputy Commissioner Kathua, Avtar Singh, the then Tehsildar Marheen, Des Raj, the then Naib Tehsildar Chann Rorian, Ram Pal, the then Girdawar and Sudesh Kumar, the then Patwari.
Some unknown persons have also been named in the FIR.
The Preliminary Enquiry conducted by the CBI revealed encroachment of huge chunk of public, Government and Forest land in district Kathua by certain persons in violation of Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act in connivance with Revenue and Forest officials.
“The accused were involved in the conspiracy with the Educational Trust through its Chairperson to allow the Trust to retain land beyond permissible ceiling limit of 100 standard kanals fixed in the Agrarian Reforms Act by deliberately fiving wrong exemption of 32 kanals of grazing land as per the Act and showing the land as `orchard’ which was not the case as per the Revenue record,” sources said.
They added that the Educational Trust in connivance with other accused wrongly calculated the standard kanal of land measuring 316 kanals and 17 marlas to escape the ceiling imposed by the Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act.
A false information was submitted in the affidavit filed by one of the accused during June 2015 before the court in a Public Interest Litigation so as to save the Trust from any adverse order.
During searches, the CBI has recovered documents related to movable/immovable property etc from the houses of the accused and will examine them during the course of investigations.
The Central Bureau of Investigation had in June registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) on the allegations of encroachment on a huge tract of public/government/forest land in Kathua by certain persons in violation of J&K Agrarian Reforms Act in connivance with Revenue and Forest officials.
The Trust runs a school, B.Ed. (Bachelor of Education) and Nursing Colleges on the land, sources said, adding its transactions are being probed by the central agency for alleged irregularities in its purchase.
Meanwhile, sources said, the CBI is also examining the role of an IAS officer in connection with the land scam of the RB Educational Trust.
“Presently, role of the IAS officer is under radar,” they said, adding he will be named in the FIR after there is enough evident against him.