The Central Bureau of Investigation has booked former Jammu and Kashmir minister and Congress leader Taj Mohiuddin in connection with the Roshni land case, The Hindu reported on Thursday. Mohiuddin is accused of illegally conferring ownership of a land under the now annulled Jammu and Kashmir State Lands Vesting of Ownership to the Occupants Act, also popularly known as Roshni Act.

The central agency has also booked others who were involved in the alleged conferring of land, including former Shopian Deputy Commissioner Mohammaed Ramzan Thakur, Mohammed Yousuf Zargar who was the additional deputy commissioner, former Assistant Revenue Commissioner Hafizullah Shah and ex-Tehsildar Ghulam Hassan Rather, according to PTI.

CBI officials said they received a complaint against the former minister by the Anti-Corruption Bureau of Jammu and Kashmir.

It was reported that the then tehsildar of Shopian had placed 190 cases for vesting ownership rights to the occupants of the state land before a committee chaired by the then deputy commissioner on June 16, 2007, under the Roshni Act.

The committee had approved 17 of the cases, including one involving a piece of land in the Estate Sedow shown under the alleged illegal occupation of the former minister. It was later found out during the verification process that the land concerned fell under the Forest Department. Mohiuddin had sought a no-objection certificate from the Forest Department two months after getting approval.

The Forest Department had in November 2007, a month after Mohiuddin got the approval, raised objections to granting the land to the former minister. Instead of rejecting the case, a Revenue Department official said that the case had already been disposed and the objection did not serve any purpose.

In May 2008, the forest department had again returned the file to Mohiuddin, saying that the case should be rejected as it was forest land. However, the Revenue Department official allegedly approved the claim.

Also read: Jammu and Kashmir’s Roshni Act is gone, leaving thousands fearing that they will become landless

Earlier this week, the Jammu and Kashmir administration published online the list of alleged beneficiaries, including bureaucrats and top politicians, under the Roshni Act. Former Peoples Democratic Party leader Haseeb Drabu, Congress’ KK Amla, National Conference leader Syed Akhoon, and former Jammu and Kashmir Bank Chairperson MY Khan are among those on the list comprising nearly 400 names. The Jammu and Kashmir administration had also named Former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and his sister Suraiya Matto in its second list of beneficiaries of the Roshni Act published on Tuesday.

The Roshni Act was enacted by the National Conference in 2001. The law was meant to grant the ownership of state land to its occupants, for a fee determined by the government. Its stated aim was to generate funds for power projects, earning it the moniker of the Roshni Act.

In 2018, Governor Satya Pal Malik repealed the Act, saying that it had “not served” its purpose and was “no longer relevant in the present context”.

On October 12, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court had ordered a CBI-led inquiry into alleged irregularities in the land scheme, and directed the agency to file a status report every eight weeks. The High Court had also instructed that the names be put in the public domain.

Further, the CBI has also registered a case, involving a scam of Rs 25,000 crore under the Roshni Act, against the then Jammu district collector and others for alleged illegal grant of land parcel ownership.