J&K minister charged with corruption, probe ordered for encroachment

In a major set back to Omar Abdullah government in Jammu and Kashmir, the State Accountability Commission, the highest anti-corruption body set up to probe charges of corruption against ruling politicians, on Tuesday ordered initiation of a regular enquiry against Minister for Consumer Affairs & Public Distribution, Choudhary Mohammad Ramzan, into his alleged encroachment on green belt and a portion of road for constructing a palatial bungalow in violation of design approved by Srinagar Municipal Corporation.

Pointing out that the allegation regarding encroachment of colony land and a portion of the road was not rebutted by the minister despite the issuance of a notice to him, the Commission comprising its chairperson Justice Y P Nargotra and Justice Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain held that his continuous absence and failure to file response prime facie raises the presumption that whatever has been stated in the complaint is correct.  Ordering registration of a complaint against him, the Commission also issued a notice to Ramzan asking him to appear before it and also to file his statement of defense within six weeks.  

This followed a complaint by Friends Enclave Consumer cum Welfare Cooperative Humhama Heights, Srinagar, through Dr G.N. Yatoo accusing the minister of encroaching upon a portion of road and green belt in the colony for raising a palatial bungalow in violation of the design approved by Srinagar Municipal Corporation.

Significantly, Ramzan became the second minister in Omar Abdullah cabinet to face a regular inquiry by State Accountability Commission as it had in May last ordered an inquiry against Deputy Chief Minister Tara Chand for making illegal appointments in urban local bodies department earlier headed by him.

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