Wakf land scam: Three weeks on, no arrest and little action
Three weeks after the FIR against a former Akali councillor who is now a Congress leader and four others for illegal colonisation of wakf board’s land in Bathinda, the police have failed to make any arrest.
While Gidderbaha’s former councillor Rajesh Kumar Gandhi alias Bittu told HT on Thursday that he had got anticipatory bail last Friday from the district court, he added that two others too got bail.
The matter relates to at least 18 acres of the Bathinda Wakf Board — custodian of properties donated for Muslim community welfare — and the district court had ordered vacation of the land on February 2. Names of the encroachers in the court order that said: “The defendants are illegally and forcibly raising construction over the suit land without any authority and permission of the plaintiff (wakf board).”
Gandhi, whose wife is now a Congress councillor in Gidderbaha, is said to have patronage of finance minister Manpreet Badal ever since the latter was part of the SAD-BJP regime earlier. He was councillor affiliated to the SAD till 2011, and later joined Manpreet-led People’s Party of Punjab (PPP); only to move along with him to the Congress before the assembly polls.
Asked about the case, police station house officer (SHO) Kulwinder Singh replied, “It is learnt that Rajesh Kumar (Gandhi) got bail in the case. We will arrest the accused soon.”
Besides Gandhi, the other accused are Vijay Kumar, Dev Raj and Sanjeev Kumar, all hailing from Gidderbaha, and Bathinda’s Kamaljit Kaur.
Though the FIR was registered only under section 52 (A) of the Wakf Act, deputy commissioner Diparva Lakra told HT that sections such as 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code were also required to be added. Wakf board executive officer (EO) Mohammad Ashraf said he had been writing to the administration and the police about the encroachment in the past, but to no avail.
The DC had even stated that all families cheated by the encroachers would get back the money they paid to settle in the illegal colony, but nothing has moved in that direction too.