STATE TIMES NEWS
JAMMU: The 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge, Baramulla, obeying the directions of the State High Court issued on Administrative side, has filed a status report in the Public Interest Litigation titled Sheikh Mohammad Shafi and others versus Union of India and others, wherein a fresh Miscellaneous Petition (MP No.3/2018) had been filed by the petitioners seeking directions to the Court of 1st Additional Sessions Judge Baramulla to expeditiously decide the matter on the question of framing of charges/discharge in the case titled State versus Mehboob Iqbal and others, popularly known as Gulmarg Land Scam.
The aforesaid Miscellaneous Petition came before a Division Bench of the State High Court headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed (since retired) on March 12, 2018 and the Division Bench after considering the submissions of Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioners had observed in the open court that this matter shall be dealt on the Administrative side.
Advocate Ahmed submitted that the Division Bench on August 28, 2012, headed by then Chief Justice M.M. Kumar (since retired) had directed the SVO to file charge sheet against Mehboob Iqbal (IAS), the then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and others in case FIR 8/09 VOK within a period of two weeks and with regard to Baseer Ahmed Khan (IAS) the then Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, the Division Bench had directed the State Government to forward his papers for grant of prosecution sanction.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that it was on September 25, 2012 SVO filed the charge-sheet against Mehboob Iqbal and 17 others in the Court of Additional Special Judge (Anti-Corruption) Srinagar and on October 5, 2013 the aforesaid case was transferred to the Court of 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge Baramulla. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that DoPT granted prosecution sanction against Baseer Ahmed Khan and a supplementary Challan was also presented against him and the same was clubbed with the Challan titled State versus Mehboob Iqbal and others.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that since November 9, 2013 the trial court at Baramulla is yet to decide the proceedings on the question of framing of charge/discharge.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that despite the express directions of the Division Bench to expeditiously proceed in the matter in accordance with law, the matter is lingering for the last several years and the petitioners have been constrained to approach the State High Court.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that there are 19 accused in FIR 8/09 P/S VOK (infamous Gulmarg land scam) which includes the incumbent Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan (IAS) against whom the Division Bench had earlier ruled that being accused in Gulmarg land scam he cannot be allowed to occupy the coveted post of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar in view of his facing serious allegations of corruption in FIR 08/09.
The 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge, Baramulla in his status report has submitted that Special Public Prosecutor (PP) VOK as also the respective counsel for accused have sought opportunity for arguments vis-à-vis framing of charge and on February, 24, 2018 the counsel for accused Mehboob Iqbal has again filed separate application for summoning the documents in terms of Section 94 CrPC.
He further submitted that pursuant to order dated June 25, 2016 Special PP VOK submitted compliance report on September, 17, 2016 in the shape of communiqué dated September, 16, 2016 addressed to IGP, Vigilance Organization J&K Srinagar by Additional Secretary, GAD Srinagar reflecting/implying that so far no decision appears to have been made in the matter by Chief Secretary. Further Special PP VOK has been apprised to inform the court that VOK has decided not to exercise the aforesaid option and the question of framing of charge has been left to be decided on the basis of material on record made available by prosecution.
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