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VB books ex-minister for misuse of power

Srinagar, October 9
The State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) has initiated a probe against former National Conference (NC) minister and leader of the Opposition in the Assembly Ghulam Mohiuddin Shah and erstwhile senior officials in the Housing Department for misusing their official position resulting in huge losses to the state exchequer.

The Vigilance Commissioner said that after going through the records, which confirmed misuse of official position, an FIR had been lodged against Mr Shah, the then minister M A Lone, the then Commissioner Secretary, Housing and Urban Development Department and the then Vice Chairman and former Secretary of the Jammu Development Authority (JDA).

The SSP, Vigilance, Mr Alok Puri, is leading the investigation in the matter.

Meanwhile, the Vigilance Bureau today raided the office of JDA in Jammu and seized records relating to the land scandal allegedly involving minister, Shah and three top officials, who were booked yesterday.

A team of Vigilance Bureau sleuths raided Vikas Bhavan housing JDA office and seized records, including 72 files, important documents and officials letters of former minister sent to the JDA, during the two-hour operations this afternoon, VB sources said here today.

Led by Senior SSP, (Vigilance) Alok Puri, the team, which started investigation today, would be screening the seized record of land scandal, they said.

A spokesman of the Vigilance said the matter pertained to allotment of land under the JDA to M.L. Koul in 2001.

He said Mr Shah and Mr Lone, in abuse of their official position and against the recommendations of the then Vice-Chairman of the JDA, and overriding the decision of the Board of Directors, colluded with the then Commissioner Secretary, Housing and Urban Development and allotted the land measuring 2025 sq ft to Mr Koul at a premium much lower than that fixed by the Board of Directors at Rs 1.50 lakh per marla, resulting in loss to the Authority.

Later, in collusion with the then Vice-Chairman of M.A. Qureshi and the then Secretary of JDA, Mr Shah got allotted a strip of land measuring 2250 sq ft in his favour at a lower premium than that worked out by the JDA, thereby causing a further loss to the authority.

The spokesman said that the above officers acted in collusion and misused their official position with dishonest intention and, prima facie, committed offences punishable under the Prevention of Corruption Act. UNI, PTI
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