Court frames corruption charges against former SDM, Forester, others

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STATE TIMES NEWS

JAMMU: Additional Sessions Judge Anti-Corruption Udhampur S C Katal framed corruption charges against Abdul Majid Bhat the then forester, Mohd Hanief Malik the then SDM Mahore, Vijay Kumar Sharma the then Naib Tehsildar Arnas and Abdul Rashid the then Patwari.
According to ACB, FIR No. 20/2011 was registered at Police Station ACB pertaining to allegations that Abdul Rashid, Patwari Halqa Duga Dansal and Hanief Malik, SDM Mahore demanded and accepted Rs 60,000 along with other items from complainant namely Ghulam Nabi, son of Hussaina, resident of Dansal Tehsil Mahore District Reasi and others for release of compensation amount in their favour in respect of damage caused to non-fruit bearing trees in their land under Khasra No. 191, 192 and 194 during execution of work of approach road from Duga Dansal, Tehsil Mahore by Konkan Railways in 2006-2007 but till date no compensation has been paid to them. The above officials were further demanding Rs 1 lakh as bribe for release of the same.
Accordingly, a preliminary enquiry was conducted by Vigilance Organization now Anti-Corruption Bureau which revealed that during 2006-07 while executing work of approach road at Duga Dansal, Tehsil Mahore District Reasi by Konkan Railways, damage to plants under Khasra No. 284/207 Min was caused for which Ghulam Nabi, son of Hussaina and Hussaina son of Ghamu had claimed compensation. The aforesaid land was however, found on enquiry, to be the forest land under illegal possession of one Bagh Hussain, Jamal Din, Ghulam Nabi and Farooq Ahmed, sons of Hussaina. Accordingly, FIR No. 20/2011 under section 5 (1) (d) read with 5(2) of J&K PC Act Samvat 2006 and Sections 161, 201, 467, 468, 471, 120-B of RPC was registered in Anti-Corruption Bureau against accused Abdul Rashid then Patwari Halqa Dugga Dansal, Tehsil Mahore and investigation started, during which on basis of statements of witnesses, relevant record was seized and with FSL opinion, it was established that then Patwari Abdul Rashid had prepared a fake assessment report regarding the plants damaged due to construction of road by Konkan Railways in favour of Hussaina, son of Ghammu, Jamal Din, son of Hussaina and Bag Hussain, son of Hussaina bearing Khasra No. 191,192, & 194, whereas damage was caused to the forest land bearing Khasra No. 284/207. Moreover, he demanded and accepted an amount of Rs 60,000 and other edible items from complainant. Naib Tehsildar Arnas, countersigned & authenticated the fake assessment report prepared by the Patwari. Moreover Abdul Majid, being employee of Forest Department and Incharge of aforesaid forest block, knew that loss was caused to forest land. He prepared assessment report in favour above mentioned persons and facilitated processing of fake compensation case. Mohd Hanief Malik, then SDM Mahore as Supervisory Officer forwarded fake assessment report for release of compensation/payment without ascertaining facts regarding actual damage; thereby become an instrumental in passing of a fake compensation case and after completion of investigation Challan was presented.
Additional Sessions Judge Anticorruption Udhampur S C Katal after hearing APP Himanshu Kumar observed that in instant case, allegations against accused are that he in order to confer undue pecuniary advantage to the complainant (Hussain) and his sons forwarded the fictitious compensation case prepared by the co-accused & issued a letter No. SDM/CR/D/373 dated 9.03.2009 to Konkan Railways Reasi and Project Manager for release of payment of Rs. 3,91,822.50 as mentioned in the fictitious reported prepared by accused No. 4 Abdul Rashid patwari and that report was counter singed by Naib Tehsildar Vijay Kumar Sharma. The accused Abdul Majid Bhat Forester being incharge of forest block Kanthan very much knowing the facts that there was loss to the Forest land (non-Fruit bearing trees) willfully kept silent and prepared the assessment report in favour of the complainant party, as such, he is conspirator with officials of the revenue department and all the officer have misused their official position to confer undue benefits to the complainant parties in lieu of extracting bribe money. It may be defence available during trial of case to the accused that he had recently joined as SDM Mohare & was not part of any conspiracy and in good faith, he had forwarded the assessment report to the Konkan Railways. The possible defence available to accuse no, 2 cannot be taken into considered at the stage of framing charge unless the clinching evidence is brought on the record/file to prove that there is no evidence against him & he has been wrongly implication in the case. Since, the case in hand was an old compensation case therefore, it was required for the accused no 2 to remain more vigilant & satisfy himself that why the compensation case has remain pending & why his predecessor-in-office has not forwarded the case for release of compensation but the accused no 2 did not took any step to verify the genuineness of compensation case thereby, abused his official position by forwarding the fictitious compensation case for release of compensation. Therefore, prima facie case is made out for framing charge against all the above named accused persons. Hence, accused Abdul Majid Bhat, the then Forester and Abdul Rashid, the then Patwari are charged for the commission of offence under Section 5(1) (d) and 5 (2) of PC Act read with section 161/467/468/471/120-B of RPC & accused Mohd Hanief Malik, then SDM Mahore and Vijay Kumar Sharma, the then Naib Tehsildar Arnas are charged for commission of offence under Section 5(1) (d) and 5 (2) of PC Act read with section 120-B of RPC.