Suman Lata Bhagat

A Congress minister of Mufti era, Suman Lata Bhagat, who was accused of minting money while in power, has finally been taken to task by State Accountability Commission (SAC) for creating immovable property through a trust which was meant to serve the weaker sections of society.

Initiating a regular enquiry, the SAC comprising of Chairperson Justice (Retd) YP Nargotra and Member, Justice (Retd) Hakim Imtiyaz Hussain issued notice to Suman Lata, a former Health Minister.

The notice was issued in a complaint filed by one Vivek Bharti stating that Lata had amassed wealth by misusing her official position and created immovable property disproportionate to her known sources of income. In the complaint, it has been mentioned that Suman Lata Bhagat is the sole trustee of Bhagat Chajju Ram Charitable Trust created through an instrument of Trust Deed executed on October 24, 2005 by one Ganga Dutt, son of late Rishi Ram of Old Rehari with a corpus fund of just Rs 1 lakh. Issuing a notice against Lata, the SAC said: “It seems that under the garb of running a trust, black money earned by use of unlawful means was being channelized by investing the same in the purchase of plots and lands.”

The next allegation relates to granting of Indian-made Foreign Liquor Licence (IMFL). It has been alleged in the complaint that an excise license of IMFL was issued in the name of Neeraj Behal, son of Sooraj Prakash of Shastri Nagar, who happens to be the son of Suman Lata Bhagat, vide Excise Licence No. JKEL-6/Exc./4931-32 dated January 19, 2005, and the license and the land allotted to him by the District Industries Centre, Jammu measuring six kanal in Bari Brahmana area vide Reg No. 07/04/21922 (Prov) dated 08-02-2005 for establishing the IMFL unit, has been sold for approximately more than Rs 1 crore.

Another allegation is that she has encroached upon and purchased more than 400 kanal land out of which some land is in the name of her son Vikas Behl. The complainant has also alleged that Lata conferred undue benefit upon the candidates by illegally nominating them for AMT Para-medical Course. The respondent in the capacity of Minister In charge, Health and Medical Education, nominated candidates much in excess of the permissible limit.

Finding the allegations prima facie substantiated against Suman Lata Bhagat and justifying a regular inquiry in terms of Section 13 of the J&K Accountability Commission Act 2002, the Chairperson directed the office to register a complaint for regular inquiry.

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