Katra Stamp Duty worth Rs 9.55 Crore Scam; HC upholds discharge of Tehsildar


JAMMU: In a much publicized case wherein ACB presented challan against Revenue Officials and others for allegedly causing loss of Rs 9.55 crore Stamp Duty to the J&K exchequer in which Additional Anticorruption Court Udhampur discharged Kunal Sharma the then Tehsildar Katra. Against the said order ACB had filed petition in the High Court.
Justice Rajnesh Oswal of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh High Court upheld the order of Anticorruption Court Udhampur with the observations that the circular would reveal that Patwari, Girdawar and Naib Tehsildar have a role to play in preparation, verification and attestation of the revenue extracts.
The Patwari has been entrusted with the responsibility of preparation of the revenue extract. The Girdawar has been vested with responsibility of verifying the entries vis-a-vis record and scrutinize the extract/tatima on spot. Thereafter, the Naib-Tehsildar has been enjoined with the responsibility to satisfy himself with the correctness of entries and then to attest all the four copies. These three officials are only vested with responsibility to prepare the revenue extract. The Tehsildar concerned has only to countersign and append a note on the copies “valid for one month only”. No obligation has been imposed upon the Tehsildar to visit the spot and then to countersign the revenue extract.
Court observed that the application for the issuance of revenue extract was submitted to Naib-Tehsildar-Rattan Singh (Now dead) on 28.12.2010, who forwarded the same to Patwari (Om Parkash) for necessary action. The Patwari (Om Parkash) prepared the Extract, which was verified by Girdawar (Hukum Chand). Naib-Tehsildar(Rattan Singh-deceased) was required to satisfy himself with the record and then to attest the four copies of the Fard. There was no responsibility imposed upon the respondent-Kunal Sharma to visit the spot. His only responsibility was to counter-sign the revenue extract and make an endorsement valid for one month only’, after the same is prepared, verified and attested by the other officials in terms of circular dated 01.06.2005.
The High Court after examining the order passed by Trial Court observed that the trial court has considered the issue in detail and this court does not find any illegality or impropriety in the same. All the petitions are found to be without merit and the same are, accordingly, dismissed.
According to the challan Instant case was registered on 09th July 2011 by the then State Vigilance Organization (Now ACB) against Swarn Singh Salaria S/o Nadhan Salaria, Village Chohana, Pathankot, Harbans Singh S/o Lehar Singh of Bishnah Jammu, Kunal Sharma Tehsildar Reasi, Rattan Singh Naib Tehsildar Katra, Hukum Chand Circle Girdawar Katra and Om Prakash Patwari Halqa Kundrorian Katra for allegedly causing loss of Rs 9.55 crore to the state exchequer.”
“The revenue officers by abuse of their official position dishonestly and fraudulently prepared and issued incomplete and misleading revenue extract in respect of land measuring 52 kanals 18 marlas under Khasra number 11 min situated at village Kundrorian Katra, Reasi falling under Katra Development Authority in favour of private beneficiaries Swarn Singh Salaria- Director, Simm Samm Hotels Private Limited and the White Hotel Katra and others,” the ACB officials said.
They further added that during verification, it transpired that the alleged officials knowingly and willfully omitted to mention that “The White Hotel, Katra, District Reasi” constructed over the land that existed on the land while preparing and issuing revenue extracts thus intentionally and dishonestly facilitated private beneficiaries Swarn Singh Salaria and Harbans Singh to depreciate the value of property from its actual cost and thus allowed evasion of the stamp duty.”
Verifications further revealed that Swarn Singh Salaria had obtained a loan of Rs 1500 lakh from IDBI Bank Mumbai in June 2010 against the aforesaid property, the statement read.
“While assessing the property of Swarn Singh Salaria in the form of land and hotel white, the surveyor had assessed the value of the property to the tune of Rs 194,25,24,478. This assessment had been agreed upon by the beneficiary and IDBI Bank Mumbai while mortgaging the aforesaid property against the loan of Rs 1500 lacs. The land in question falls under Katra Development Authority.

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