SRINAGAR: The J&K High Court has called for response to the report filed by the Chief Secretary of the state on the Pahalgam Golf Course land acquisition scam, wherein it was informed that embezzlement of public money was done by Revenue officials for the golf course’s expansion.
In his report, the Chief Secretary informed court that an FIR has already been registered against the erring officials of the Revenue Department, including the Assistant Collector, for manipulating and changing the nature of the land in question.
He further submitted that the excess amount paid to the beneficiaries for “Najaiz Shamilat” land shall be made by the erring Assistant Collector as arrears of the land revenue under the provision of the Land Revenue Act.
“The Revenue Department has been asked to initiate necessary steps for recovery of the excess amount paid, if any,” the report further read.
The Division Bench of Justice Ali Mohammad Magrey and Justice Sanjeev Kumar directed the Amicus to respond to the report of Chief Secretary, who further submitted that any officer involved in the matter can be proceeded against both in departmental proceedings as well as in criminal proceedings.
“Accordingly, taking cognizance of the matter, departmental action was initiated against the officers involved in the insertion case of land in question by changing and manipulating the original nature of the land by the then officials of the Revenue Department who were placed under suspension and entry was made in their service book as well,” the Chief Secretary reported.
As per the report, the case stands challaned by the Vigilance Organization of Kashmir under Sections 120-B, 420, 467, and 468 RPC and is presently pending disposal before the court of Additional Sessions Judge (Special Anti Corruption) Anantnag and is at the state of recording of evidence.
The High Court, while taking suo-motu cognizance of embezzlement in the state exchequer had sought a comprehensive response and status report from the Chief Secretary.
The issue pertained to the disbursing of government money by Revenue officials for the process of land acquisition for the expansion of the golf course at Pahalgam amid gross irregularities and illegalities at huge cost to the state exchequer made by the officials who awarded the money to persons who were not entitled to the same.
The court while taking suo motu cognizance of the matter said as to what action should be taken against the erring government functionaries/officers, including the concerned Revenue officers who remained posted in Anantnag and had an occasion to deal with the matter.