Irregularities In Pahalgam Golf Course Extension: HC Seeks Report

SRINAGAR – The J&K High Court on Tuesday directed the Government to submit progress of investigation in FIR with regard to alleged gross irregularities and illegalities in the process of acquisition of land for expansion of Golf Course at Pahalgam. The directions were passed by a division bench of the court while hearing a PIL.

On previous hearing the court had observed that it needs to know and determine as to who was or were the competent authority or authorities to take the follow up action and implement the common judgment of the Court dated 29 January 2014 in the seven writ petitions, the lead case being Mohd Sultan Khan v State of J&K?

What course of action should be taken to retrieve the Government money disbursed to persons not entitled thereto, whether under the orders of the Civil Court or otherwise?

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?

What is the present status of the criminal case that was filed by the Crime Branch before the Court of law and who were the accused therein?

Since the matter involves a huge State exchequer, why should not it be referred to the CBI for a thorough investigation etc., so that the erring Government functionaries and the beneficiaries of such a wrong are brought to justice?

“This is not the end of it; numerous issues are likely to surface later as the case proceeds ahead,” the court said and  found it appropriate to issue notice only to the Chief Secretary of the State  to file a comprehensive response and status report in this regard. Further course of action would be decided as and when such response and report is filed by the Chief Secretary, the court had said.

Way back in 2004, a proposal was mooted by the State Tourism Department through Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam, for expansion of Pahalgam Golf Course for which certain lands were required to be acquired.  Subsequently, possession of land measuring 364 Kanals was handed over by the Tehsildar Pahalgam to the Chief Executive Officer, Pahalgam Development Authority on 01.04.2006. However, this document, produced during the course of hearing before the Court does not specify the Khasra nos. of the land which was taken over, as was observed by the court. “It is a plain piece of paper, bereft of any semblance of being a governmental document; not that it is false, but demonstrative of the casual manner things have been rushed through,” the court had observed.

“While the compensation as determined in the final award was being paid to the claimants, and an amount of Rs.7, 53,73,875.00 was disbursed amongst some of the claimants, a case FIR no.1/2009 was registered at Police Station, Vigilance Organization, during the investigation of which certain discrepancies were noticed.’ On 06.12.2013 the government had said that the award had been wrongly passed and published inasmuch as persons who were not owners of the land were held entitled to compensation.



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