Millionaire former legislators owe over Rs. 5 crores to J&K govt

Srinagar | Updated: 19 December, 2023 12:12 pm IST

SRINAGAR: 47 Former MLAs of the 12th Jammu and Kashmir Assembly including Cabinet Ministers are yet to repay the loans taken from the erstwhile state assembly for building, repairing or purchasing homes. In all, they owe around Rs 5.7 crores to the state exchequer, an RTI reply has revealed.

Jammu-based lawyer Advocate Sheikh Shakeel applied the RTI act in the Jammu and Kashmir Assembly Secretariat, Srinagar/Jammu seeking details of the amount taken as advance/loan and payment made to date by all the former legislators.

As per these Rules notified on September 22, 1988, members of the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature were allowed a loan of Rs 5 lakh for the construction of the house. It was mentioned in the Rules that in case the member does not avail the car advance admissible under Motor Car Advance (to Members of Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature) Rules, 1987, he or she may be allowed a housing loan of Rs 10 lakh in case he or she furnishes a certificate from competent authority to that effect.

The recovery of the loan along with interest shall be made in monthly installments not exceeding 60 from the salary bills of the members. However, in case the amount of the loan along with interest is not liquidated during the tenure of the member, the number of instalments shall be fixed at such rate to restrict the number of instalments to 60, the Rules said.

In case the member does not become entitled to a pension under the Jammu and Kashmir State Legislature Members Pension Act, 1984, the amount shall be recovered from him/his legal heirs and successors in such monthly instalments as may be determined by the sanctioning authority.

After completing all the formalities defined in these Rules, these 47 Members of the 12th Legislative Assembly obtained house-building advances and even furnished personal bonds that they would repay the loan at and 4% rate of interest per annum. These former MLAs were supposed to clear the loan along with the interest in monthly instalments not exceeding 60.

Also Read: ‘Islam not compatible with our civilisation,’ says Italian PM Meloni

However, even after the lapse of several years and the timeframe fixed in the Rules, these 47 Members of the 12th Legislative Assembly have not liquidated the house building advance. In addition to this, no steps have been taken by the authorities to make recovery despite clear-cut provisions in this regard in the Rules.

Most of the legislators are ‘crorepatis’ with many of them reporting a staggering increase in their net worth in the last Assembly elections held in the Year 2014.

Nazir Ahmad Gurezi, a former legislator of the National Conference from Gurez who owes Rs 20 lakhs to the J&K Assembly over a housing loan had declared assets worth Rs 2.12 crore in 2014. In 2008, Gurezi had declared assets worth Rs. 12.73 lakh, including those owned by his spouse.

Similarly, Mohammad Akbar Lone, a Member of Parliament and Former MLA from the Sonawari constituency had also reported a 115 per cent increase in the value of assets owned by him during the 2014 Assembly elections. Lone’s net asset worth was Rs. 3.50 crore in the 2008 elections which had shot up to Rs. 7.6 crore in the Year 2014.

While talking to The New Indian exclusively Advocate Shakeel Sheikh said: “I had filed a Public Interest Litigation (PIL No 17/2020) titled Prof SK Bhalla V/s Union Territory of J&K & Ors’ seeking eviction of ex legislators from Ministerial Bungalows in Jammu/Srinagar cities.”

Advocate Shakeel said “On 13th September 2023, a division bench of J&K High Court directed us (the petitioners) to file a list regarding the personal accommodation/houses of the 48 politicians(ex-legislators/political persons). We had submitted before the Division Bench that most of the 48 politicians have their palatial bungalows in Jammu/Srinagar cities and were not eligible for allotment of government accommodation under discretionary quota.”

He said, “Accordingly, we filed an RTI in J&K Assembly Secretariat to which we received a response and furnished the details in the Division Bench of J&K High Court.”

Advocate Sajid Yusuf Shah, BJP’s Kashmir Media Incharge said “Those who embezzled public funds for all these years have even defaulted on the loans they acquired during their time in the Assembly. On one hand, these legislators have huge mansions in Srinagar and Jammu and on the other hand, some of them aligned themselves with anti-India and Pakistani-narrative. J&K Government should not retain their accomodations.”

Also Read Story

FIR filed against individual for lewd comments on Martyr’s widow

MHA empowers J&K LG, CS on Admin Secy’s transfers Pre-election

Sports heroes Dhoni, Tendulkar, Srikanth spotted at Anant-Radhika wedding

Anant Wedding| Aishwarya comes separately with daughter; not Jaya, hubby Abhishek