Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari

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Maoulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari

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Former minister and PDP legislator, Moulvi Iftikhar Hussain Ansari surrendered before the Court of Special Judge Anti corruption Jammu Pawan Dev Kotwal in much publicized Sidhra land scam. He was granted bail after furnishing personal bond of Rs 50,000.

The court had issued non-bailable warrants against the MLA after he “failed to appear continuously for several hearings and instead sought adjournments through his counsel”.

The court observed that since charge-sheet has already been laid in the Court and the presence of the accused to face trial has been secured, it does not find any good ground to withhold bail, especially when the other accused with the same allegations were admitted to bail, on their surrender in this Court.

The judge said he does not find any ground to withhold bail of the accused. The court had on 15 May issued non-bailabale warrants against Ansari for securing his presence in court in the multi-crore township scam case. Former J&K Governor Lt Gen S K Sinha had given a nod for prosecution of Ansari in the case. Ansari, who was the Housing and Urban Development Minister in Farooq Abdullah government in 1997, was indicted by a one-man Commission headed by the then Vigilance Commissioner R V Raju who probed the alleged scam.

The Commission in its report indicted Ansari, who was tasked to setup up a Rs 500-crore satellite township at Sidhra in the outskirts of Jammu city in 1997, for taking Rs 60.25 lakh in kickbacks from Infrastructure Projects Private Limited (IPPL).

A business tycoon, Ansari was a Congressman. In 1996 elections, he joined NC and won election from Pattan and became a minister. All of a sudden Dr Farooq Abdullah dropped him from the cabinet apparently after he was informed by his finance minister that the minister was topping the list of tax defaulters.

Within days of his expulsion, the crime branch of the police came with its report suggesting how Ansari took money from a company after helping them to sign a deal with his ministry.

When Ansari denied the allegation, Dr Abdullah set up a Commission that also indicted him. In 2005, Ansari dissociated from Congress, resigned as an NC lawmaker and joined Mufti Sayeed led PDP. In 2008 assembly elections he won on PDP mandate from Pattan. He continues to be with PDP as its senior vice president.

Off late, however, his politics and business goals have started making many of his colleagues uncomfortable. The court notice might prove a momentary celebration for all in PDP and the NC.

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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