The Jammu and Kashmir vigilance department has registered a case against nine people, including a former revenue secretary and members of a trust run by the earstwhile royal Dogra family, in connection with an alleged multi-crore land scam, officials said today.
The move, however, was strongly opposed by the Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust which termed it as "an unfortunate attack on minority religious institutions and its properties".
The department found that the Trust used a forged report and leasedout a 75-acre government land to seven private businessmen at a cost of Rs 2.90 crore.
A case has been registered against Sachin Dev Singh, then assistant commissioner revenue, Jammu, other officials of the revenue department and members of the Dharmarth Trust.
They have been charged for corruption, forgery and criminal conspiracy, an official spokesman said.
Vigilance department officials carried out searches at several locations in Jammu and Rajouri and seized documents related to the case, the spokesman added.
In a statement, issued tonight, the Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust strongly opposed the the State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) action, saying the act seems to be an unfortunate attack on minority religious institutions and its properties.
"The act of defamation against the ancient Dharmarth Trust created by ex-rulers, the Maharajas is believed to be based on false information and instigated by those having certain vested interests in creating this controversy", a Trust spokesperson said.
Run by the erstwhile royal Dogra family, the Trust was founded in 1846 by Maharaja Gulab Singh to maintain temples and other properties associated with them in Kashmir, Jammu, Himachal Pardesh, Haridwar and Varanasi.
Refuting the allegation as "unlawful", the spokesperson said that the SVO or other authorities concerned should have at least gone through the basic facts and existing laws and regulations before initiating such actions.
"The land property at Nandani, near tunnel, is purely proprietary of Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust from the period of Maharajas," he said.
This property stands granted to Rani Pathani wife of late Raja Ram Singh and the same was subsequently transferred to Jammu and Kashmir Dharmarth Trust Department in 1935 through a royal command by Maharaja Hari Singh and has been managed and controlled continuously till date by the Trust, he added.
It is worth a mention here that the Temples and Dharmarth Trust properties of J&K State and outside were reserved and were out of the government and legislative assembly upon which Ain-e-Dharmarth stands, as reflected under all state laws, he said.
"Keeping in view these facts, including J&K High Court Division Bench judgement, the Dharmarth Trust refutes these allegations and believes that the action by the SVO and other departments in unlawful, the spokesman said in the statement.
He said that the trust shall take all necessary legal measures to protect its interests in this regard.