Land allotment scam exposed; deal fixed at Rs 1.5 Cr
MoS Industries pitched case of a big Business House
JAMMU: In a brazen act of favour in lieu of whopping Rs 1.5 Crore consideration, Director Industries Jammu on Wednesday detected a scandal involving 34 kanals of land in a premier Industrial Estate being allotted to an influential Business House of Jammu for setting up of two industrial units.
Sources told STATE TIMES that the deal amount had allegedly already been paid to Minister of State for Industries pending formal allotment of land at Bari Brahmana Industrial Estate by the designated committee.
The scandal came to fore when it was found that a particular businessman was being favoured in terms of allotment of 34 kanals of land at Bari Brahmana for two units notwithstanding the fact that several applications were lying pending in the office of Managing Director SIDCO at the winter capital. The organisation has many a times gained notoriety for making allotments on pick and choose basis for obvious reasons.
The sources said that the minister concerned had been vigorously pursuing the issue of allotment cases in favour of M/s Shivam Metal Shaper Industries Works and M/s Adhishree Cold Storage-both owned by one Subash Aggarwal. While the general trend in the organisation had been to allot small plots of land to entrepreneurs, Subash Aggarwal was being bestowed the favour of 17 Kanals each for the units despite the fact that Project Manager, DIC had projected the requirement of only 1.4 kanal and 1200 sqft land respectively for the two units of Subash Aggarwal.
The proposed allotment had been brought to fore by one Kamal Kumar of S.K. Industrial Technical Consultancy, Shastri Nagar, Jammu who had filed a complaint against Gulzar Qureshi, the then Director (I&C) and Managing Director, SIDCO with the Chief Minister about the scandal. The copies of the complaint had also been endorsed to the Vigilance Commissioner, Director, Vigilance Commission, Income Tax Investigation Department etc alleging MD SIDCO was going to allot 34 Kanals of land to one of the established Business House, ignoring the pendency list.
The Chief Minister had marked the complaint to the Chief Secretary vide No.PS/PRS/HCM/665/2013 dated 08-09-2013 with directions for ‘further appropriate action in the matter under the laid down framework’.
In the meanwhile a meeting of the Divisional Level Single Window Clearance Committee (DLSWCC) had been fixed for 2nd September 2014. Aggrieved with the procedure of allotment being followed by J & K SIDCO, Manish and others approached the Court. A Writ Petition OWP No.1343/2014 dated 3rd Sept 2014 and CMA No.1823/2014 were filed stating that ” the petitioners had applied to the concerned departments for opening up of small scale industrial units, by adopting due course of law. That the cases of the petitioners were complete in all aspect. That the cases of the petitioners were duly considered and forwarded by the office of GM DIC Jammu to the office of MD SIDCO. That MD SIDCO rejected the case of the petitioners on the ground that no land is available with them for such an earmarking/allotment, whereas on the other hand, the MD SIDCO had earmarked land in favour of their blue eyed persons, who are hand in glove with them”.
The Writ Petition also stated: “That the concerned officers have adopted the method of granting or refusing the consideration, without adopting due process. That the government has framed the Industrial Policy including the guidelines for clearance of cases of the entrepreneurs under a single window system but the concerned officers are flouting all the procedures and norms to give benefit to the persons of their choice. It is submitted that the cases of the entrepreneurs are pending consideration since 2009 and whereas the Director Industries Jammu , in its meeting to be held on 2nd September, 2014 is going to consider the cases of the persons whose cases are yet in the pipeline. It was further submitted that in the month of August, 2014 only, the cases of these persons have been forwarded to the J&K PCB and to the PDD and till date no formal approval has been granted to these four entrepreneurs and whereas their cases are going to be considered by the Director Industries for allotment of prime land of about 40 kanals which land can be allotted to all the aspirants, fairly and impartially and whereby many number of pending cases of entrepreneurs can be accordingly dealt with”.
In its directions on the petition, the High Court passed interim orders on 2nd September 2014, directing, “Meanwhile, as interim, subject to objections and till next date before the Bench, concerned officers shall not take up, in the meeting of Divisional Level Single Window Clearance Committee scheduled to be held on 2nd September, 2014, any case submitted to SIDCO by the District Industries Centre, Jammu later than submission of the case of the petitioners, that is, case of petitioner No.1 vide communication No. 12844-per/1805 dated 28-05-2014 and case of petitioner No.2 vide communication No.12746-per/10414 dated 01-03-2014 of GM, DIC, Jammu.”
In compliance to the directions of the High Court, the DLSWCC meeting scheduled for 2nd September, 2014 was deferred and Director Industries Dr Abdul Rashid sought a factual report from MD SIDCO and GM DIC Jammu.
Managing Director SIDCO vide his letter No. IDCO/ROJ/03/147- II/1083 dated 19th September 2014 provided a list of pending cases which was not in conformity with the list provided by him vide his letter No. SIDCO/PS/MD/ Civil/EE/43940 dated 28th March 2014 and as such he was again requested to provide a list of all pending cases for earmarking of allotment of land at Industrial Complex Bari Brahmana vide No. DI&C/M&P/60-III/295 dated 20th September 2014 received from General Manager, DIC, Jammu
MD SIDCO again submitted a list of cases pending with it for want of earmarking of land at Bari Brahmana on 29th September 2014. The perusal of list of cases pending for want of earmarking indicated that at least 34 cases were pending since as long as 2009 prior to earmarking of 34 kanals of land in favour of M/s Shivam Metal Shaper Industries Works, Industrial Complex, Bari Brahmana and M/s Adhishree Cold Storage, Industrial Complex, Bari Brahmana by SIDCO.
A detailed factual report was submitted by General Manager, DIC, Jammu vide letter No.DIC/Ext./4766 dated 30th August 2014 regarding these four cases for the perusal and information of DLSWCC. The report highlighted that the cases of M/s Shivam Metal Shaper Industries Works, Indl. Complex, Bari Brahmana and M/s Adhishree Cold Storage, Indl. Complex, Bari Brahmana were never recommended to SIDCO by his office for earmarking of land.
“That the land earmarked in favour of these units is 17 kanals each, whereas in their project report, prepared by J&K Technical Consultancy Pvt. Ltd. and duly countersigned by the Project Manager of DIC, Jammu is shown as 1.4 kanals land and 1200 sqft respectively, which clearly indicates that the land earmarked is totally disproportionate to the land proposed in their project reports”.