Alleged Roshni Scam: Court annoyed over selective targeting

Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal
Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal

JAMMU — Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and First Puisne Judge Justice Rajesh Bindal (through virtual mode) heard a fresh miscellaneous application filed by J&K government, seeking preponement of the date of hearing of the review petition which had been fixed for December 16.

When this preponement application came up for hearing, the Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal put a specific query to AAG Aseem Sawhney, “What is the urgency in the matter?”.

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Upon this, AAG Aseem Sawhney submitted that CBI has started probe and it has restricted its probe to those FIRs which were being probed by ACB earlier and it is creating problems for the officers of the Government and if CBI probe in those cases is allowed to continue, it will amount to unsettling the settled things.

AAG Sawhney further submitted that the Administration be allowed to formulate a policy for segregating the poor/farmers from the purview of the Judgment dated October, 9, 2020 passed by the Division Bench in PIL No. 19/2011 and other connected matters.

At this stage, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel Ahmed appearing for the petitioner in PIL No. 19/2011 submitted that ever since the passing of the Judgment by the Division Bench, a false narrative contrary to facts and records was run by vested interests to defeat the very intent and purpose of the court directions.

Advocate Ahmed further submitted that a particular community was targeted of grabbing, “Ponds, Rivers, State Land and Forest Land” when there were no such observations/directions in the celebrated Judgment passed by the Division Bench.

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He further submitted that the Judgment of the Division Bench was misinterpreted to foster the false narrative to mislead the common masses and to create a wedge between the peace loving people of UT of J&K.

Advocate S.S. Ahmed vociferously argued that Divisional Administration of Jammu is selectively leaking the names of Roshni beneficiaries in the media to target a particular community and to give a wrong impression under the garb of the directions of the Division Bench which was never the intent of the pious directions passed by the Division Bench on October, 9, 2020.

He further submitted that recently a news portal of Jammu leaked the list of beneficiaries belonging to village Ghaink of tehsil Bhalwal in district Jammu wherein an important name of a political figure/Ex-DyCM allegedly surfaced and thereafter the Divisional Administration of Jammu resorted to criminal silence and conveniently suppressed/hushed up this matter without clarifying the particulars of that alleged political person.

The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal while expressing its deep concern and displeasure in the open court orally observed/remarked, “We don’t want discrimination of any kind on the basis of Culture, Region, Religion/Status” and the DB further remarked, “We don’t want lopsided investigation and investigation has to be fair”.

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The Division Bench headed by Chief Justice Gita Mittal further remarked, “The Judgment never intended to target people unnecessarily,” and also remarked and directed the CBI Counsel Monika Kohli to file first ATR in a sealed cover before the next date of hearing.

Advocate Monika Kohli appearing for CBI resisted the submissions of AAG Aseem Sawhney and submitted that CBI is investigating the Roshini Land Scam squarely as per the directions of the Division Bench and she further divulged that CBI is almost ready with its Action Taken Report (ATR) and the same shall be filed shortly.

After considering the heated arguments from both the sides, the Division Bench comprising Chief Justice Gita Mittal and First Puisne Judge Rajesh Bindal allowed the preponement application moved by Government of J&K and fixed the main PIL (PIL No. 19/2011) alongwith the review petition of J&K Government for hearing on December, 11, 2020 instead of December, 16, 2020.

The Division Bench, during the course of hearing, made significant oral observations wherein it expressed anguish/displeasure over selective targeting and impressed upon CBI to investigate the matter fairly and further clarified that the Division Bench Judgment never meant to target people unnecessarily and also the DB remarked that the Judgment was not against any Culture, Region, Religion and Status.

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