Ahmed Ali Fayyaz
SRINAGAR: Nearly five years after it surfaced dramatically in South Kashmir’s Pulwama district, Vigilance Organisation has concluded the investigation and filed the final charge-sheet in Rs 22 crore National Highway land compensation scam against 75 officials of the State Revenue Department and Jammu and Kashmir Bank Ltd.
Pending sanction to the prosecution of 14 bank officials from Chairman of J&K Bank Mushtaq Ahmad, officials of the Police Station of Vigilance Organisation Kashmir (VOK) had filed charge sheet against 61 officials of the Revenue Department in the court of Special Judge Anti-Corruption Haq Nawaz Zargar on April 28 this year. Following receipt of the prosecution sanction from the Chairman, the VOK officials on Monday filed the final charge-sheet under section 173 Criminal Procedure Code involving 14 J&K Bank officials in addition to 61 Revenue officials in the same court in Pulwama.
The VOK sources told STATE TIMES that the charges in embezzlement of Rs 22,11,89,400 had been established against 76 officials. One of them expired during the course of investigation. The sizable amount of money had been fraudulently withdrawn from the accounts of Collector Land Acquisition Pulwama Adil Rashid Naqash out of the funds meant for compensation to the land owners for four-laning of Srinagar-Jammu National Highway.
Sources said that VOK has constituted a special team of prosecutors for pursuing the embezzlement case in the court as all documentary evidences had been collected and statements recorded.
Case FIR No. 37/2010 under sections 5(1) (c) 5(1) (d) and 5(2) J&K P.C. Act 2006 read with 120-B, 409, 468 and 471 RPC was registered in the VOK Police Station on November 8, 2010 on the reference of the State government. The case was initially investigated by Police Station Awantipora through FIR No. 174/2010 registered on October 5, 2010.
The SIT headed by VOK’s SP incharge of Anantnag, Pulwama and Budgam districts conducted a fresh investigation. Charges were established against 75 officials including Collector Naqash. On receiving sanction to the prosecution from State Revenue Departments, challan was filed in April 2015 against 61 Revenue officials. Sanction to the prosecution of 14 J&K Bank officials came from the Chairman of the bank recently.
Sources said that pending the VOK investigation, the bank’s Vigilance Wing held its own inquiry into the allegations against 14 officials including managers of Awantipora and Letapora branches. While as the services of some of the accused bank officials were terminated, others were made liable to different punitive and disciplinary actions.
The VOK investigation revealed that the accused Collector Adil Rashid Naqash, Land Acquisition Clerk of DC office Pulwama Parvez Indrabi, officers and officials of J&K Bank Awantipora and Letapora, including then Branch Head of Letapora in league with the private accused person Farukh Jahanzeb alias Rinku, son of Ghulam Mohi-ud-din Bhat alia Mahi Pandit, resident of Awantipora, Showkat Ahmad Dar and others hatched a conspiracy and in league with each other managed to embezzle Rs. 22,11,89,400 from the official accounts of Collector.
The account had been opened illegally in business unit Letapora of J&K Bank over a period of 18 months with full knowledge and active connivance of the officials.. The money was initially transferred to the accounts of the private persons on the basis of fake and fraud authority letters and even without any authority. The money was invested in illegal purchasing and selling of lands.
After the Government accorded sanction for launching prosecution against the public servant, the challan of the case comprising of approximately 2000 pages was produced before the court on Monday.
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© 2017 State Times Daily Newspaper