Top BJP leaders among ‘illegal occupants’ of govt housing in J&K

Top BJP leaders of Jammu and Kashmir Ravinder Raina, Kavinder Gupta, and Sunil Sharma
From Left: Top BJP leaders of Jammu and Kashmir Ravinder Raina, Kavinder Gupta, and Sunil Sharma

SRINAGAR — More than 10 former ministers and ex-legislators of the BJP are among the politicians who are “unauthorisedly” residing in ministerial bungalows and quarters in Jammu and Kashmir.

This revelation assumes more significance as it comes close on the heels of the BJP’s concerted campaign, targeting the leaders of regional parties in Kashmir for “benefitting” from the Roshini land law.

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The details of “illegal occupants” of government accommodation have come to the fore after Jammu and Kashmir’s Estates’ Department filed an affidavit in J&K High Court.

According to the affidavit submitted by the Estates’ department on October 2, a number of politicians, including former ministers, are residing in government properties as of September 2, beyond the period of the allotment.

The department further submitted 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,” reads the affidavit submitted by Muhammad Alyas Khan, Deputy Director, Estates.

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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, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) among others.

Going by the affidavit, 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).

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Apart from Kavinder Gupta, another five BJP leaders who were ministers in the last elected government of the erstwhile State of Jammu and Kashmir are residing in government bungalows and quarters, the affidavit reveals.

They are Sunil Sharma, Shakti Raj Parihar, Sat Sharma, Sukhnandan Choudhary and Bali Bhagat.

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 Randhawa (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.

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