Srinagar, Oct 11: The Jammu and Kashmir High Court handing over the probe into controversial Roshni scheme to Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) could lead to opening up of Pandora’s Box.
An analyst while talking to Precious Kashmir said, “When this scheme was announced the then J&K government had claimed that it would generate whopping revenue of more than Rs 25000 crore as the state land which is under the illegal possession of the private parties will get legalized. But in most of the cases it didn’t happen and it eventually turned into a scam.”
It may be recalled that the Jammu and Kashmir State Lands (vesting of ownership to the occupants) Act was enacted in 2001 with the twin objective of generating resources for financing power projects and conferment of proprietary rights to the occupants of the state land. The scheme was repealed after it failed to serve its purpose.
Last week, a division bench of J&K High Court comprising CJ Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal declared the Roshni scheme as unconstitutional and directed that its investigation be transferred to the CBI.
An observer said that the Roshni scheme turning into the “biggest scam” in J&K’s history has raised many questions. “Had this scheme been implemented honestly it would have benefitted the poor, but things didn’t go as planned. More than poor people, rich reaped the fruits and they succeeded in getting the prime properties transferred on their names,” the observer added.
According to the official figures that were available in January this year, in Jammu the government transferred 1,58,512 Kanals of land under the scheme and it got Rs 22.63 crore. On an average a kanal of land was given at a throwaway price of Rs 1428. In Kashmir division, against revenue of Rs 54.27 crore, 13732 Kanals were given to 11247 people. This makes cost of land as Rs 39,522 per kanal.
The observer said, “The list of beneficiaries under Roshni scheme include big names and the CBI probe will reveal it all. In the past many probes were scuttled due to one or other reason but after J&K’s transition into a Union Territory the investigating agencies have become very vibrant. It appears that after the CBI starts the probe many skeletons will tumble and it could mean trouble for big guns.”
He said that when the loopholes in Roshni Act had come to fore few months before the 2014 floods in Kashmir, many people had demanded that the ones who have made ‘highly questionable’ amendments made to the original law initially in the era of late Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and later in the government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad should be held accountable. “It seems now time has come to bring all the discrepancies in public domain,” the observer added.