Appointment of Raja Jalal as GB governor sparks resentment among people over scam, NAB started inquiry following blame game

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ISLAMABAD: Induction of Raja Jalal Hussain as governor Gilgit-Baltistan (GB) has added to a series of Prime Minister (PM) Imran Khan controversial decisions amid the reports that a corruption scandal of Rs 320 million has surfaced soon after taking oath of his office by Raja Jalal, the Online news agency has reported on Tuesday (2nd October).

NAB has reportedly launched inquiry in the matter. The corruption charges have been leveled by defence ministry and Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) while GB governor has termed these charges incorrect and he has leveled counter allegation saying that government officials are misusing their powers and CAA has to pay a sum of Rs 260 million to him on account of compensation of his lands.

Talking to ‘Morning Mail’, Raja Jalal said he and CAA had agreed on striking out of court settlement and deal will be finalized within a few days. Accorded to information and documents available with Morning Mail, CAA has served a recovery notice amounting to about Rs 60 million on Raja Jalal for stealing thousands of tons soil from the lands of CAA and selling it to  WAPDA. The stolen soil was used in construction of Sadpara dam.

CAA has filed a suit against Raja Jalal for not returning the amount he had collected illegally from Wapda.  Governor GB is also accused of illegally occupying the hundreds canal land of CAA and he has appointed his men on the land in the name of cultivators.  CAA has issued notice to the illegal occupants.

It is evident from judicial documents that father of Raja Jalal Hussain sold one thousand kanal land to defence ministry for construction of airport at the time and before construction of Sadpara dam. This land has been transferred.  It is alleged that after death of his father, Raja Jalal Hussain stealthily occupied a big chunk of lands sold out to CAA and appointed his farmers.

Soon after the situation came into its notice, CAA issued notice to Raja Jalal asking him to return the amount he received for selling stolen soil and end his illegal occupation on land.

It is pertinent to mention that the aforesaid all land was transferred to CAA till 2000 under transfer order No 1631, 1750, 1751.

Instead of returning the amount collected by him against stolen soil and ending his illegal occupation, Raja Jalal filed a case under No 33/2002 in civil Court Skardu in 2002

When this case was going to reach its logical conclusion Raja Jalal sought permission from the court to make amendment in his petition which was rejected by the court.  In order to prolong the matter Raja Jalal filed appeal plea in the court of District and Sessions Judge Skardu which was also dismissed.

Later he filed appeal in chief court GB. A division bench comprising Justice Malik Haq Nawaz and Justice Muhammad Omar also rejected this appeal plea on October 4, 2017 and upheld civil court decision besides ordering Raja Jalal to pay all the expenses incurred on case.

It may be mentioned that defence ministry was seeing all the matters before formation of CAA.  Raja Jalal raised this point in his plea for amendment that defence ministry be removed as respondent and CAA Division be kept as sole party.

The department informed the court that CAA is completely under defence ministry; therefore, secretary defence can not be removed from this case. The court therefore, rejected Raja Jalal plea.

Talking to ‘Morning Mail’, Amjid advocate counsel for governor GB said “This matter is very old. Now Raja Sahib has become governor therefore, the people are blowing it out of proportion. This is not corruption but it is a dispute between two parties. Some time a former Deputy Commissioner who was not local got the land transferred wrongly.

District Attorney Skurdu Qadir Hussain said “We are assisting the court for protection of state land. All the lands have been transferred to CAA. There is no information about the decision of chief court here. The case will be restarted in civil court Skardu on receipt of authenticated copy of decision.

Zakir Hussain counsel for CAA told ‘Morning Mail’ by telephone “I am representing the institution. I contested the case what the institution told me. Contact Miss Maria, legal advisor of CAA at Islamabad for obtaining facts about the case. Our efforts to contact Miss Maria to obtain her stance could not succeed.

The people of GB are reportedly criticizing the appointment of Raja Jalal Hussain as governor. It is pertinent to mention here that the decision about nomination of Dr Amir Muhammad Khan as governor Balochistan was withdrawn after the charges surfaced against him.