Panel probing graft charge against J-K minister scrapped

Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council Chairman Amrit Malhotra has dissolved the House Committee which was formed to probe allegations of land grab against senior cabinet minister Taj Mohiuddin.

"Since the members belonging to the National Conference have withdrawn from the House Committee that I had constituted to investigate the allegations levelled against Taj Mohi-ud-Din, by MLC Syed Muhammad Rafiq Shah... in the case of illegal possession of forest land in Sedow, Shopian, the said Committee has become practically infructuous," Malhotra said in an order.

"The Committee does not seem to be in a position to serve any purpose without the participation of the largest political party in the House i.e. National Conference. Against this background, I am convinced that the continuance of the Committee would not serve any purpose. I, therefore, dissolve the committee with immediate effect," the chairman of the council said.

Reacting sharply to the development, National Panthers Party (NPP) MLC Syed Muhammad Rafiq Shah today claimed that the Chairman was under intense pressure to dissolve the House Committee.

"Dissolution of the house committee is a murder of the Constitution. The chairman (of Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council) was under intense pressure and received threats," Panthers Party MLC Syed Rafiq Shah told reporters here.

The House Committee was formed during the recent autumn session of the Council after Shah produced some documents claiming that Mohiuddin had grabbed forest land in Sedow area of Shopian district in connivance with some officials of the revenue department.

The House Committee included Shah, two members from National Conference, one from Congress -- MLC Bashir Ahmad Magray-- and one from opposition PDP.

National Conference, surprisingly, last week pulled out its members - Khalid Najib Suharwardy and Bashir Ahmed Veeri - from the five-member Committee.

Several MLCs including the leader of the upper house R S Chib had written to the chairman to dissolve the committee as they claimed it could lead to constitutional crisis in the state.

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