Srinagar, Mar 23: In the much publicized Public Interest Litigation titled Sheikh Mohammad Shafi & Anr V/s Union of India and others wherein a fresh Miscellaneous Petition (MP No.3/2018) had been filed by the petitioners seeking directions to the Court of 1st Additional Sessions Judge Baramulla to expeditiously decide the matter on the question of framing of charges/discharge in the case titled State V/s Mehboob Iqbal & Ors (infamous Gulmarg land scam) sub-judice in the Court of 1stAdditional District and Sessions Baramulla. The fresh Miscellaneous Petition (MP No.3/2018) came up for hearing before a Division Bench of the State High Court headed by Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed (since retired) on March 12, 2018 and the Division Bench after considering the submissions of Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioners had observed in the open court that this matter shall be dealt on the Administrative side.Advocate S.S. Ahmed submitted that the Division Bench on August 28, 2012 then headed by Chief Justice M.M. Kumar (since retired) had directed the SVO to file charge sheet against Mehboob Iqbal (IAS), the then Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir and others in case FIR No.8/2009 VOK within a period of 02 weeks and with regard to Baseer Ahmed Khan (IAS) the then Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, the Division Bench had directed the State Government to forward his papers for grant of prosecution sanction under Section 6 of J&K Prevention of Corruption Act to the DoPT Govt. of India.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that it was on September 25, 2012 SVO filed the charge sheet against Mehboob Iqbal (IAS) and 17 others in the Court of Additional Special Judge (Anti-Corruption) Srinagar and on October 5, 2013 the said case was transferred to the Court of 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge Baramulla. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that DoPT granted prosecution sanction against Baseer Ahmed Khan and a supplementary challan was also presented against him and the same was clubbed with the challan titled State V/s Mehboob Iqbal and Ors.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that since November 9, 2013 the trial court at Baramulla is yet to decide the proceedings on the question of framing of charge/discharge and a mere glance at the proceedings of the trial court show that the high profile accused are taking the process of the court casually and in this way trial court will never be able to proceed further in the matter.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that the Division Bench of the State High Court vide its order dated December 21, 2016 in PIL No.14/2012 titled Mohammad Rafiq Zargar V/s State & Ors had issued directions to the trial court at Baramulla to expeditiously proceed in the matter in accordance with law.
Advocate Ahmed further submitted that despite the express directions of the Division Bench, the trial court has not been able to decide the matter on question of charge/discharge and the matter is lingering on for the last several years and the petitioners have been constrained to approach the State High Court so that a time frame may be fixed for the trial court to decide the question on framing of charge/discharge.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that there are 19 accused in FIR No.8/2009 P/S VOK (infamous Gulmarg land scam) which includes the incumbent Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Baseer Ahmed Khan (IAS) against whom the Division Bench had earlier ruled that being accused in Gulmarg land scam he cannot be allowed to occupy the coveted post of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar and the Division Bench had directed the State Government to post him on any other equivalent post but not on the prime position of Deputy Commissioner Srinagar in view of his facing serious allegations of corruption in FIR No.08/2009 P/S VOK.
Advocate S.S. Ahmed further submitted that despite facing serious allegations of corruption and abuse of official position Baseer Ahmed Khan has been serving as Divisional Commissioner Kashmir since July, 2016 and this shows his clout in the corridors of power. Advocate Ahmed further submitted that rest of the accused includes Former Divisional Commissioner Kashmir Mehboob Iqbal (IAS) and top hoteliers of Kashmir Valley.
On the directions of the State High Court issued on Administrative side, the 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge, Baramulla has filed a status report in case titled State V/s Mehboob Iqbal & Ors arising out of case FIR No.8/2009 VOK wherein it is submitted that Special Public Prosecutor VOK as also the respective counsel for accused have sought opportunity for arguments vis-à-vis framing of charge and it is also stated in the status report that on February, 24, 2018 the counsel for accused Mehboob Iqbal has again filed separate application for summoning the documents in terms of Section 94 CrPC.
The 1st Additional District and Sessions Judge Baramulla has further submitted that pursuant to order dated June 25, 2016 Special PP VOK submitted compliance report on September, 17, 2016 in the shape of communique dated September, 16, 2016 addressed to Inspector General of Police, Vigilance Organization J&K Srinagar by Additional Secretary to Govt. GAD Srinagar reflecting/implying that so far no decision appears to have been made in the matter by Chief Secretary. Further Special PP VOK has been apprised to inform the court that VOK has decided not to exercise the said option and the question of framing of charge has been left to be decided on the basis of material on record made available by prosecution.
It is worthwhile to mention herein that FIR No.08/2009 P/S VOK (infamous Gulmarg land scam) came to be registered in the year 2009 against high profile bureaucrats and top hoteliers of Kashmir Valley for grabbing the land of Gulmarg Development Authority by getting it regularized under Roshini Act situated at World Famous Picturesque Tourist Resort Gulmarg and Challan in this case was presented on the intervention of the State High Court on September 25, 2012 and till date the matter is lingering on before the trial court on the question of framing of charge/ discharge.(CNS)