Srinagar: Days after Bharatiya Janata Party’s Smriti Irani targeted the leaders of regional parties in Kashmir for “benefitting” from the Roshini land law, more than 10 former ministers and ex-legislators of the BJP have come in the list of politicians residing “unauthorisedly” in ministerial bungalows and quarters in the erstwhile state.
The list was revealed by the JK’s estates’ department after it filed an affidavit in the high court of Jammu and Kashmir.
Quoting an affidavit submitted by the estates’ department on October 2, a report by The Wire said that a number of politicians, including former ministers, are residing in government properties as of September 2, beyond the period of the allotment.
The report quoting the departmental report further said that it has taken up the matter with the home department to ascertain whether they need accommodation for security reasons.
“Once the comments of the home department are received, appropriate action in the matter will be taken,” the report quoted the affidavit submitted by Muhammad Alyas Khan, deputy director estates.
Going by the rulebook, former ministers or legislators are not entitled to government accommodation in normal circumstances.
The list of “unauthorised” occupants includes politicians from different parties, including BJP, National Conference, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), among others.
According to the report, more than 10 former BJP ministers, ex-MLAs and MLCs figure in the list of those residing in ministerial bungalows besides occupying A, B and C type accommodations in Srinagar and Jammu.
The high-profile BJP leaders residing in government accommodations include Ravinder Raina (J&K unit president) and Kavinder Gupta (former deputy chief minister and assembly speaker), the report said.
Apart from Kavinder Gupta, another five BJP leaders including Sunil Sharma, Shakti Raj Parihar, Sat Sharma, Sukhnandan Choudhary and Bali Baghat, who were ministers in the last elected government of the erstwhile state of Jammu and Kashmir are residing in government bungalows and quarters, the report said quoting affidavit details.
The report quoting the list said that former lawmakers from the party in the list include Neelam Langeh (ex-MLA), Daleep Singh Parihar (ex-MLA), R. S. Pathania (ex-MLA), Rajesh Gupta ( ex-MLA), Vibodh Gupta (ex-MLC), Pradeep Sharma (ex-MLC), Ashok Khajuria (ex-MLC), and Vikram Randhwa (ex-MLC).
Apart from former ministers and legislators, a few of its lower-rung leaders are also residing in government accommodation.
However, deputy director Estates, Alyas Muhammad Khan said Ashok Khajuria and Shakti Parihar have vacated the government houses in which they were living.
The report quoting Kavinder Gupta said that nobody is living in government accommodation unauthorisedly.
“Everybody is paying rent. We are living in government quarters due to a security threat. I don’t think there is any problem residing in government quarters till the constitution of the next assembly,” the report quoted him as saying, adding that they have not received any notice from the government to vacate the quarters.
He said that the government should evict those who have not held the position of MLA/MLC and are residing in quarters due to their “influence”.
Besides, BJP leaders, there are leaders from other political parties including National Conference, PDP, Congress, Apni Party, Peoples Conference and Panthers Party who have also figured in the list.
Earlier on December 4, the Textile Minister of India Smriti Irani said that 3 lakh and 40000 kanals of land has been “looted” by influential and rich people of Jammu and Kashmir under the Roshni Scheme.
Addressing a DDC campaign rally in Jammu, Irani said that political parties and leaders of Peoples Alliance for Gupkar Declaration (PAGD) “encroached” State land in Jammu and Kashmir under Roshni Scheme to construct their own party offices and bungalows.
“I want to ask you that did Gupkar leaders helped any poor family to construct a bungalow on state land under Roshni Scheme,” she further said, adding that these leaders even announced to take the support of China against the Indian government, which is the height of their unfortunate approach.
“DDC polls are not ordinary ones but a sign of people’s love towards Indian constitution and zeal for better future of upcoming generations in Jammu and Kashmir,” she said.