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ACB Uncovers Major Land Scam in JK Involving Government Officials

The Jammu and Kashmir Anti Corruption Bureau (ACB) has made significant strides in uncovering a major land scam in the region. The scam involves the illegal acquisition of custodian land in the Asarwan, Mishriwala, and Bhalwal areas of Jammu district. This land was reportedly seized by a land mafia in collusion with officials from the Custodian, Revenue, and Police departments.

According to a statement by the Wattan daily (WD), the ACB conducted searches after obtaining warrants from the Special Judge Anti-Corruption in Jammu. Search teams, which included ACB officers, independent witnesses, and magistrates, were deployed to sixteen different locations in and around Jammu. These searches are still ongoing.

The ACB received intelligence that thousands of Kanals of custodian land had been fraudulently acquired by land grabbers. These individuals were allegedly assisted by officials from the Revenue and Police departments, who tampered with revenue records and facilitated the illegal sale of the land to various buyers.

During its investigation, the ACB discovered that Form 3-A (Form Alf) and powers of attorney were fraudulently obtained from various refugees from Pakistan-occupied Kashmir (POK). The refugees were lured with promises of additional land and instant cash payments ranging from 5,000 to 50,000 rupees. These documents were then used to make unauthorized additions to revenue records.

The altered revenue records allowed the land grabbers and their associates to sell the custodian land to various individuals, including gang leaders and members, through fraudulent means. This not only led to significant financial losses for the government but also highlighted the deep-rooted nexus between criminal elements and government officials.

As a result of these findings, the ACB has registered five formal FIRs at Police Station Central J&K. These FIRs pertain to offenses under the Prevention of Corruption Act, criminal conspiracy, cheating, forgery, and fraud. The ACB’s investigation has established a prima facie case against the involved officials and land grabbers.

In addition to the five FIRs, the ACB’s verification process is ongoing. The bureau aims to uncover the full extent of the usurped custodian land and identify all the officials and individuals involved in the scam. This ongoing investigation underscores the ACB’s commitment to tackling corruption and ensuring accountability.

The unearthing of this scam serves as a reminder of the pervasive issue of land grabbing in the region. It highlights the need for stringent oversight and reform within the relevant government departments to prevent such fraudulent activities in the future. The ACB’s proactive measures and thorough investigation are crucial steps towards restoring public trust and upholding the rule of law in Jammu and Kashmir.

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