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ACB Registers FIR Against Former Minister’s Son and Ex-JDA Officials Over Illegal IT Park Approval

The Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has registered a First Information Report (FIR) against Hilal Rather, the son of former Jammu and Kashmir minister Abdul Rahim Rather, and former officials of the Jammu Development Authority (JDA) for their alleged involvement in irregularities concerning the approval of an IT park in Jammu.

The FIR, filed on Tuesday, names a former vice chairman and former Chief Town Planner (CTP) of the JDA. This action follows an investigation that suggested these officials facilitated the unlawful approval of construction permits for the IT park, leveraging a backdated site plan for a three-story building, which they knew had no legal standing.

The Anti Corruption Bureau’s investigation revealed that the Building Operations Controlling Authority (BOCA) of JDA granted permission retroactively, requiring the building to be used exclusively for IT purposes. However, Hilal Rather reportedly violated these conditions by constructing a fifth floor and additional structures, including a porch, encroaching on the designated rear setback area.

According to the ACB spokesperson, the former JDA officials colluded with Rather, neglecting their official duties and enabling the unauthorized constructions. These actions, as alleged by the ACB, caused a wrongful loss to the government exchequer and constitute offenses punishable under the Jammu and Kashmir Prevention of Corruption Act and criminal conspiracy laws.

This recent FIR against Hilal Rather is not his first brush with the law. In 2020, the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) filed a charge sheet against him in connection with a Rs 177-crore bank fraud case. The charge sheet also implicated former branch heads of the Jammu and Kashmir Bank, New University Campus branch, Iqbal Singh, and Arun Kapoor.

The CBI’s 2020 charge sheet alleged that Hilal Rather, in conspiracy with the bank officials, secured loans totaling Rs 177.68 crore by violating established rules and guidelines. This case, initially handled by the Anti-Corruption Bureau of the Union Territory, was later transferred to the CBI, which registered the FIR on March 4, 2020, at the request of the Union Territory administration.

The ACB spokesperson indicated that further investigations into the IT park case are ongoing. The involvement of senior officials in these corruption and conspiracy allegations underscores the gravity of the situation and the extent of the misuse of power in the JDA.

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