Marhama 'land scam' rocks Jammu Kashmir assembly
The ruling National Conference (NC) and opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) members Saturday engaged in a war of words in the Jammu and Kashmir assembly over the alleged Marhama land scam.
Speaker Mubarak Gul tried to restore order and said the state Crime Branch had seized all revenue documents pertaining to the alleged scam and these have been placed before him for perusal so that these are not tampered with to mislead investigations.
"The sale document carries signatures of Deputy Speaker Sartaj Madni as a witness to the sale deed," the speaker said.
Madni defended himself reiterating he would resign from the house if he is proved to have been a beneficiary of the said deed although he had signed it as a witness.
National Conference leaders Muhammad Akbar Lone and Nasir Aslam Wani said a PDP member is the beneficiary of the sale deed in the alleged land scam and, therefore, the transaction was more or less in the nature of a 'Benami sale deed'.
The NC leaders said the beneficiary had changed the status of the agricultural land besides grabbing state land in Marhama.
Countering the comment, PDP leader A.R. Veeri said the state government had given permission for conversion of agricultural land for other purposes to the beneficiary.
State Revenue Minister Aiyaz Ahmad Khan intervened saying the government had given permission for improvement and not conversion of the said land into agricultural land.
While members of the NC and the PDP engaged in heated arguments, members of the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) said the house proceedings had finally been reduced to a battle of power between the Abdullahs and the Muftis.
After this, the members of the BJP and the National Panthers Party walked out of the assembly in protest.
Saturday was the last day of the state assembly session whose term ends by the beginning of 2015.
(Posted on 30-08-2014)