CBI registers enquiry against educational trust run by former J&K minister Lal Singh

CBI registers enquiry against educational trust run by former J&K minister Lal Singh

New Delhi:  The CBI has registered a Preliminary Enquiry (PE) to probe allegations of land grabbing and corruption by an educational trust run by ex-Jammu and Kashmir minister Choudhary Lal Singh, who had quit BJP following a row over the rape and murder of an 8-year-old girl in Kathua, officials said on Thursday.

The officials said that PE has been registered against R B Educational Trust of Kathua and unknown public servants to probe the allegations of illegal gratification and extraneous consideration by the revenue and forest officials of district Kathua in allowing sale and purchase of forest land.

According to the CBI’s PE, it is alleged that false certificates that such land comes under exempted category under JK Agrarian Reforms Act were used in its purchase by the educational trust, the officials said.

Singh, when contacted, refused to comment on the developments.

The preliminary enquiry by the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) alleges that the trust, a beneficiary of such alleged illegal acts, continues to be in possession of huge tracts of land in gross violation of ceiling prescribed under Jammu and Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976, they said.

It also alleged that false information was submitted in the High Court of Jammu and Kashmir on June 9, 2015 vide an affidavit filed on a public interest litigation to favour this trust, the officials said.

The CBI in some cases does a Secret Information Report (SIR) which is converted into a PE only after verification of facts. During the preliminary enquiry, the agency tries to find if prima facie material exists to move ahead with a formal registration of a case also known as a Regular Case or FIR to start investigation.

During the preliminary enquiry no searches can be conducted or no one can be summoned for recording statements without consent.

Singh had last year quit the BJP and floated Dogra Swabhiman Sangathan (DSS).

He and the then industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga had resigned from the PDP-BJP led dispensation in 2018 after questions were raised over their participation in Hindu Ekta Manch rally organized in support of those arrested in connection with the rape and murder of the eight-year-old girl in Kathua that year.

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