'Abdullahs' house in Jammu built on encroached land'

Farooq, Omar Abdullah figure in Rs 25,000 crore Roshni land scam in J&K

The list also highlighted the headquarters of their NC in Srinagar and Jammu were legalised under the controversial Roshni Act

Former chief ministers Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah. Credit: PTI Photo

National Conference (NC) President and former Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah are a part of the list of beneficiaries of Roshni Act which has been published by the Union Territory (UT) government on its website.

J&K administration made public names of people, including politicians, bureaucrats and businessmen, who were beneficiaries of the Rs 25,000 crore Roshni Act enacted by Jammu and Kashmir Assembly in 2001.

On November 1, the UT government cancelled all land transfers that took place under the J&K State Land (Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants) Act, 2001 – also known as the Roshni Act – under which 2.5 lakh acres of land was to be transferred to the existing occupants.

The list of the beneficiaries was made public by the administration in accordance with the October 9 directive of the High Court which has declared Roshni Act “illegal, unconstitutional and unsustainable” and ordered a CBI probe into the allotment of the land under this law.

As per the details of state land (physically encroached but not shown in revenue records), uploaded on the website of divisional commissioner Jammu on Tuesday, Abdullahs have encroached on seven kanals and seven marlas (nearly an acre) of state land in Sunjwan area of Jammu.

Reacting to his name surfacing in the Roshni scam list, Farooq Abdullah said, “Not only my house, there are hundreds of others in the area. I will not react to this as they just want to disturb Farooq Abdullah. Let them do it.”

His son Omar said the news is completely false and is being spread with malicious intent and both his (senior Abdullah’s) houses at Jammu and Srinagar have nothing to do with the said Act. “Dr Farooq Abdullah has NOT availed of the Roshni Scheme for either his residence in Srinagar or in Jammu and anyone who says otherwise is lying. The fact that they are using sources to plant this story shows that it has no legs to stand on,” he said.

Roshni Act was first introduced in the budget speech of 2000 by then finance minister Abdul Rahim Rather of the NC. In 2005, the PDP government-led by (late) Mufti Mohammed Syed relaxed the cut-off year to 2004. The Congress government led by Ghulam Nabi Azad, further relaxed the cut-off year to 2007.

The Comptroller and Auditor General, in a 2014 report, had stated that only Rs 76 crore had been collected from the transfer of encroached land between 2007 and 2013, as against the target of about Rs 25,000 crore.