Jammu, Oct 9 (IANS) In a landmark judgement, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Friday declared the controversial Roshni Act “unconstitutional” and directed that investigation into the Rs 25,000 crore land allotment scheme under it be transferred to the CBI.
A division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal allowed a petition that sought transfer of the Rs 25,000 land allotment scam under the Roshni Act from the Anti-Corruption Bureau (ACB) to the CBI.
The act, enacted by the state legislature in November 2001 and enforced in March 2002, envisaged raising funds for hydro power generation in the state by transferring state land into private ownership to collect Rs 25,000 crore.
A CAG report estimated that against the targeted Rs 25,000 crore, only Rs 76 crore had been realised from the transfer of land into private ownership.
Politicians, businessmen and bureaucrats had come under severe criticism for transferring state land into their ownership and that of their favourites at arbitrarily fixed rates, which ultimately deprived the state of land worth several thousand crores and also defeated the purpose of the act.
In its judgement, the high court, declared the law unconstitutional, held all allotments made under the act void ab initio.
It ordered that the investigation of the land scam be transferred to the CBI which will file the status report within eight weeks.
The court also said that J&K Chief Secretary will ensure uninterrupted investigation which will also be directed against those officers in whose tenures the encroachments had happened.
The court said all Deputy Commissioners and Divisional Commissioners will be held for contempt of court if they do not cooperate with the investigation.