Court seeks fresh report over Raman Bhalla’s bungalow

Petitioner smells rat in SVO, Revenue report

JAMMU: In connection with the alleged construction of a bungalow on government land by the former Revenue Minister, Raman Bhalla, Justice Tashi Rabstan of Jammu and Kashmir High Court Friday instructed the State Vigilance Organisation to file a fresh report before the next date of hearing.

The minister is reportedly constructing a palatial house on the state land comprised in Khasra No: 781 min against which a social activist, Prof S K Bhalla, has filed a writ petition in the court of law.

After the petitioner in person and AAG, P.C. Sharma, appearing for the SVO, Justice Tashi Rabstan went through the status report wherein it is highlighted that the demarcation of the land in question has been conducted and the report received from the Revenue Department which is under examination. 

The report said that Jammu Municipal Corporation has also inspected the site for examining the violation of the site plan if any and the report of the Jammu Municipal Corporation is awaited.

Prof. S.K. Bhalla submitted that the status report is totally silent on the disproportionate assets angle and the SVO has not commented about the probe on the disproportionate assets side. 

He submitted that in his complaint to the SVO. he had categorically submitted that the cost of the construction runs into crores but the SVO has not taken care to hold the enquiry on this issue. 

He said that the minister in question has also encroached upon the Nallah and he is using the encroached as his parking and has installed a security picket. The status report is totally silent on these points. 

He said that during demarcation none of the senior officers associated themselves and the demarcation was conducted by the subordinate revenue officials like Naib-Tehsildar, Girdawar and Patwari. 

He said even the Tehsildar South did not associate herself with the demarcation proceedings nor SDM South Jammu joined the demarcation proceedings. 

He further submitted that Deputy Commissioner, Jammu should have gone on the spot at the time of demarcation and the demarcation should have taken place in his presence and supervision. He expressed apprehension about the credibility of the demarcation report. 

He asked that the demarcation report be summoned in the Court for judicial scrutiny and further submitted that SVO is delaying the probe as the same is directed against the Former Cabinet Minister of the State. 

He further pointed out that the Supreme Court of India in its landmark Judgment titled Lalita Kumar V/s State of U.P has held that preliminary enquiry in a corruption case should not exceed seven days but in the instant case the probe is being delayed as the same is directed against the influential Former Revenue Minister of the State.

The Court looking into the importance of the issue directed the Registry to list this petition in the week commencing September 7, 2015.

Pertinently, in the previous status report it was mentioned that the then Revenue Minister has purchased land measuring 1 Kanal 10 Marlas bearing Khasra Nos.778 and 779 situated at Village Deeli, Jammu from three persons and the allegation is that a palatial residential building has been constructed by Raman Bhalla over State Land bearing Khasra No.781 min adjoining Satyam Resorts and Jammu Plaza which too have been constructed over the said State Land. 

It is stated that the rough sketch of the plot in mutation No.4747/J shows that the plot has “Gair Mumkin Gali” at North, South and West Side of the plot whereas the actual construction (illegal) does not have three galis and located at the left side of the road leading from Satyam Resorts to JK Resorts and hence it can be established that all the concerned Departments deliberately ignored the vital information and facilitated the illegal encroachment and construction on the State Land.

The status report further says that the concerned Patwari in his report dated 27-09-2011 has stated that the said land is not a Nazool, JDA or custodian. Another aspect of this illegal construction is huge construction cost disproportionate to the known source of income of Raman Bhalla. It has also been alleged that the cost of each bathroom exceeds Rs.20.00 lacs and there are five bathrooms in the said building. The tentative cost of material exceeds Rs.5.00 crore.

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