Mahant Manjit Singh of Nangali Sahib, Early Times owner Bansi Lal Gupta among occupants of state land

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Jammu, November 25: Jammu and Kashmir administration on Wednesday released 145 new names claiming that Mahant Manjit Singh, head of the famous Gurdwara Nangali Sahib in Poonch, an influential businessman and owner of a local English daily, Bansi Lal Gupta, a PDP office among them were occupants of state land in Jammu.

Mahant Manjit Singh, who is held in high esteem by Sikhs and members of other communities across the UT,  was stated to have built an educational institution on 7 kanal and 2 marla state land at Babliana and Bansi Lal Gupta a commercial complex on 5 kanal and 2 marla land at Deeli within the limits of Jammu Municipal Corporation. Both of them were stated to have got ownership of state land under their respective possession transferred in their names under provisions of the scrapped Roshni Act and the latter had even paid Rs 91.80 lakh for it.

It also named that a PDP Office in Sunjwan was built on 3 kanal state land), a retired SSP Mirza Rasheed built a house on 2 kanal, and one Haji Sultan Ali, a businessman running a car washing facility and dealing in sale-purchase of land was occupying 30 kanal land in the same area. It further claimed that one   Zehan Din, a relative of former Congress minister Aijaz Khan, too had occupied (2 kanal state land in Sunjwan.

Aijaz is, at present, in Apni Party and is contesting the District Development Council elections from Reasi district’s Thuru constituency.

It also claimed that in Channi Rama area, a retired IGP Nasir Ali had constructed a residence on 3 kanal state land, a PDP leader Talib Choudhary (residence and shop on 2 kanal) and Haji Sultan Ali (a commercial structure on 1 kanal and 5 marla state land).

The UT administration’s list of occupants of State land “other than Roshni’’ beneficiaries in Sunjwan include the names of PDP Office (3 kanal), retired SSP Mirza Rasheed (2 kanal), Haji Sultan Ali, a businessman running a car washing facility and dealing in sale-purchase of land (30 kanal), Zehan Din, a relative of former Congress minister Aijaz Khan (2 kanal). Aijaz is, at present, in Apni Party and is contesting the District Development Council elections from Reasi district’s Thuru constituency.

Mahant Manjit Singh, however, said that the land in question fell within the premises of Mahant Bachiter Singh College of Engineering and Technology which is spread over an area of over 100 kanals. The college is being run for welfare of general people of Jammu and Kashmir by a philanthropic Trust “Mahant Manjit Singh Trust’’ and since the legally legislated government scheme of that time was available, the Trust got this piece of land transferred in its name. The land was transferred in the name of the Trust running the educational institution and not in the name of any individual, he added.

Bansi Lal Gupta said that when he took the land in 1990 and he was not aware of its being a state land. “However, when government came out with a scheme to vest ownership rights of state land to its occupants subject to the payment of its cost at market rates, “The land which is stated to be in my possession is part of an over 200 kanals of land falling under khasra No. 781 which administration claimed had been transferred to Jammu Development Authority,’’ he said. “While I paid the entire amount of Rs 91.81 lakh in 2008 and did not avail any rebate, there are many others who too have built houses and commercial structures this land and have not paid even a single penny so far’’. “Instead of this land, if I had purchased land for this money somewhere else at that time, its value would have been over Rs 25 crore now,’’ he added.

The PDP spokesperson Firdous Tak, however, described the mention of party name in the list of occupants of state land at Sunjwan as a “blatant lie’’, adding that the party has only one office in Jammu and that is in a rented accommodation in Gandhi Nagar. “This is fraud there is no PDP office,’’ he said, adding “this speaks volumes about the intentions of people framing the list so as to defame particular regional organizations’’. “As they have nothing to show against PDP and its leader Mehbooba Mufti, they have “concocted a list showing that there is a PDP office on state land in Sunjwan, which the fact is that the party had no other office except in rent government accommodation in Gandhi Nagar at Jammu,’’ he added.