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Land grab controversy: Taj launches offensive against Malhotra
JAMMU, Nov 14: Indicative of messier scenario on account of factional feud within state Congress, the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Taj Mohi-ud-Din, emboldened by NC’s support on land grab issue, today launched direct offensive against the Chairman J&K Legislative Council Amrit Malhotra with the threat to approach Congress high command seeking his removal.

“I’ll have to request the Congress High command and National Conference to bring ‘no confidence motion’ against him (LC Chairman). We’ve lost the trust in him,” Taj said while addressing media in Jammu.

While facing a volley of questions as why he was against the probe, Taj stated, “I’m not against the probe. I’m still open to the probe. Any constitutional or statutory body like Accountability Commission or Vigilance Organisation, can probe can against me. They already probed against me and cleared me. I’m open to another probe by them. But this constitution of Committee against me was unconstitutional and I could never afford to make a precedent. He had no authority to constitute a committee against a sitting minister. How could I allow him to set a wrong precedent to be followed by others? I was fighting for a cause.”

Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control said that he was against the efforts to split the coalition, destabilize it by accusing the partner of scuttling the probe. Had this probe not stopped on its own, he would’ve moved to the court of law to do the same because this was illegal, unconstitutional, malafide and was being done stepping beyond the jurisdiction to defame him, he said.

To move to the court was an option available with him, but he preferred to tread a difficult and long course, Taj stated. Why he was thinking to bring ‘no confidence motion’ against the LC Chairman, he responded to this query, saying “Kyunki Bandar Kay Haath Mein Ustara Hai.”

“I’ll request my high command to take up this issue with the coalition partner National Conference (to move no confidence motion against the LC Chairman). I’ll request the Congress High Command to take action against the chairman after taking the National Conference on board. Yeh To Bandar Kay Haath Mein Ustara Hai Meray Bhai Woh Kahan Kya Chala Day Kidhar Chala Jaaye..Kis Ka Qatl Ho Jaaye….Such an irresponsible man should not remain on the chair. He’s been a danger to himself….. danger to the party,” he continued his tirade against the LC Chairman.

“The question was against the forest department and he could have very easily made a house committee against that,” he said.

In response to a query as was he (LC Chairman) being remote-controlled by some master-mind as he was hinting at, Taj’s one liner was, “That’s for you to decipher. …….can be you can say….there are many things which amount to this..”

Regarding PDP MLC Murtaza Khan’s charge that the LC Chairman was under pressure to dissolve the House Committee, Taj said, “I don’t know - what’s the pressure? Yes, my pressure would have been that I could have moved to the court to law to get it (House panel) dissolved. He was under pressure because I would’ve moved to the court.”

And what if the high command did not agree to his request vis-à-vis ‘no confidence motion’ against the LC Chairman, his response to this question was, “Tab Isi Tankhwah Mein Kaam Karungaa…(Then I would continue performing my duties as I’m doing now..)”

When asked was the whole development outcome of Congress factional feud, his response was, “Why are you asking me? You better understand all.”

He stated that he did speak to PCC president on this account. “His response was- I’ll see. I’ll study the law.”

How was the e process of constituting House panel against him illegal and malafide as he was reiterating? On this question, he said that already six of his colleagues had made an attempt and explained in their letter to the Chairman that the order was illegal, unconstitutional.

He alleged that by constituting a house committee to probe the allegation of forest land against him on the allegation of Panthers Party member, Rafiq Shah, the LC chairman was trying to destabilize the coalition government by creating wedge between the National Conference and Congress. The House Committee was dissolved by Malhotra on November 12 after two NC MLCs withdrew.

Taj said the aim of the LC Chairman was to create a wedge between the coalition partners. “He failed in his efforts. He accused NC saving me but forgot that eight members of Congress had already written to him stressing that his step was unconstitutional,” he said.

Taj reiterated his stand that the house committee constituted to probe charges of land grabs against him was unconstitutional. “The Charges are a conspiracy against me. The charges have been investigated by the Accountability Commission in 2005 and by the Vigilance Commission in 2011. They found nothing against me and I am still open to probe by them.”

He said he was following the directions of the Congress high command to strengthen Chief Minister Omar Abdullah. “I am strengthening the Chief Minister on the directions of High Command. I am ready to face any probe whether by vigilance or accountability commission. It is good that the committee has been dissolved,” he added. He also accused Congress MLC Bashir Ahmad Magray of backtracking by giving different statements to media in Kashmir and Jammu.

Earlier giving a background of the case, Taj said, on the basis of the record produced/reply furnished by Forest Minister, Minister for Law, Justice & Parliamentary Affairs, R S Chib, Leader of the House, MLCs Khalid Najeeb Suharwardy and Naresh Gupta including Forest Minister vehemently opposed the constitution of a House Committee to investigate the issues raised.

He stated that the constitution of the House Committee was opposed on this ground as well that the issue was looked into by the Accountability Commission in the year 2005 and probed by Vigilance Organization, Kashmir in the year, 2011 conveying that there was no forest land grabbed.

“Main Kaun Sa Raja Harishchandra Tha…”


JAMMU, Nov 14: “Abhi Itne Raja Harishchandra Koi Nahin Hai…Meri Baat Yaad Rakhiye…Jab Aap Ko Government Koi Haq De Rahi Hai …To Bhi Aap Kahein Main Kapde Shapade Nikal Kay Bilkul Khali Ho Kay Aa Jaayun…Maine Koi Illegal Kaam Nahin Kiya Jahan 22 lakhs persons Iss Ka Labh Utha Rahay Ho….Jab …..Ek (Qanoon) Bana Hua Hai …Main Aisa Kaun Sa Raja Rarishchandra Tha Kay Sochata Ab Main Minister Ban Gaya Ab Main Jayadaad Say Haq Chhod Dun …Daan De Doon …(There’s no Raja Harishchandra who would say `no’ to a `right’ accrued to you by law……I did nothing illegal as 22 lakh persons were enjoying the same benefit under the same law…I too did not imbibe the spirit of Raja Harishchandra that I would’ve forfeited my claim, my right accrued to me by law.)”

This was how the Minister for PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Taj Mohi-ud-Din defended his ‘occupation’ over State land which triggered a political storm and still refused to settle down.

The query put forth was - Since he, being the Minister in the state cabinet, was occupying State land which still was not regularised in his name thus it constituting a continuing offence, didn’t he think the public propriety demanded that he should have set an example and vacated that land?

“Jabki Sarkar Mujhko Haq De Rahi Hai Kay Aap Usmein Paise Bharo ..Maine Paise Bhar Diye….I’ve fulfilled all formalities….211 is my receipt number. If a right is accrued to me under law…..I’m availing that benefit….I’m not doing anything illegal. There are 22 lakh people who are occupying the State land, Taj Mohiuddin is not alone. My 4000 kanals of land in Kathua district under law was distributed to tillers. Today the law is permitting me to take 13 kanals of land why I should refuse because I’m a minister. I would have been culpable had I occupied some land after becoming legislator or minister. It would have been illegal had it been forest land, which is not so. It’s state land,” the minister continued.

Responding to yet another question pertaining to status of the land under his possession thirty years ago, Taj said, “It was government land but not forest land. Under Roshni Act, I applied for its regularization. Agar 2004 Kay Baad Iss Par Mera Qabza Hai …then I’m legally entitled to claim it. I’ve deposited the required sum with the concerned government authority.”

He stated that the regularization of the land in question under Roshni Act was still under process.

Did it mean that he continued to occupy state land, replying to this pointed query, Taj said, “Yes, I’ve been occupying it for the last thirty years.”

He stated that he was not a public functionary when he acquired the possession of the land in question thirty years ago.

“I complied with all legal provisions…. At present, 11,22,000 kanals of land is under unauthorized possession and that’s why the government contemplated to bring Roshni Act. Under this Act, the option was given to get possession of land existed before 2004 regularised. Immediately after that Act was passed, I applied for its regularization. Whatever decision is taken for around 14 lakh kanals of land under process for regularization under this Act that will apply to me as well,” he said.
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News Updated at : Thursday, November 15, 2012
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