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KL Report

Irrigation Minister Taj Mohiuddin against whom Legislative Council had set up a house penal and later dissolved it has said the committee was unconstitutional. He had planned to go to the court against it had not the Council disbanded it, reports quoting the controversial minister said.

“Had the Committee not being dissolved, it will have unmasked many people,” Taj was quoted saying by a local news gathering agency. “I had prepared all the documents and I was planning to go to the court that the committee was dissolved.”

The minister who is facing land-grabbing charges said the move was unprecedented. Nowhere in the history was a house penal constituted to probe a serving minister. “If house penals probe such allegations what the State Accountability Commission and the State Vigilance Organization do?” he has asked. He has offered to face any investigation by the two organizations.

Taj has said that the committee was set up on the insistence of two members – Mohammad Rafiq Shah (Panthers Party) and Murtaza Khan (PDP) as eight lawmakers were against the idea of the penal. He has said that had the committee followed the rule of the law it would not have been any issue. For the first meeting it sought certain documents and these were submitted. But before the next meeting, Murtaza Khan, who was heading the penal, had written to all the Deputy Commissioners seeking details of my property.

“If it (penal) was mandated to investigate Sedow case what was the purpose of seeking details of my properties in Srinagar, Kathua, Baramulla and Jammu?” the minister was quoted saying by KMN. “As for Sedow, I have evidences of 1985 with me that offer details about my rightful ownership of the property.” It was this piece of forest land that the minister has fenced and, according to PP lawmaker Rafiq Shah, is in his illegal possession as per the revenue records. This reference actually led to the setting up of the committee. Shah has already stated that he will go against Taj to the apex court and the minister said he would welcome the move and fight it.

Shah who had leveled the allegations against Taj also addressed a news conference during the day. He stated that the minister was unnerved by the setting up of the committee and used his every influence to get it dissolved. “He is facing three cases in the State Accountability Commission,” Shah said. The Panthers Party lawmaker said that he will fight the case against him in the Supreme Court. “Had a common man encroached upon forest land, he would have been booked under Public Safety Act,” Shah said. “Law is not for commoners only.”

The lawmaker accused ruling NC of supporting and abetting corruption in the state. He threw his weight behind Murtaza Khan’s statement that Taj was helped by NC for his support to chief minister in cricket scam and the murder of NC fixer Haji Yousuf, an allegation that Taj has already denied.



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