The Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) on Tuesday morning raided the residential premises of the former Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) minister and the founder of Dogra Swabhimaan Sanghthan (DSS), Choudhary Lal Singh, in Rajbagh and Kathua in Jammu, officials said.
“Two CBI teams launched searches on the premises of Choudhary Lal Singh in ward number 2 of Kathua town and in Rajbagh around 7 am,” said an official.
“In Kathua, the officials arrived in three vehicles. The searches are still in progress. Jammu & Kashmir Police is not involved in the raids,” he added.
On June 25, CBI had registered a preliminary enquiry (PE) to probe into allegations of land grabbing and corruption by an educational trust run by Singh, who had quit the Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) in 2018.
He had resigned from the party following a row over the rape and murder of an eight-year-old nomadic girl at Rasana in Jammu’s Kathua district in 2018.
The PE has been registered against RB Educational Trust of Kathua and unknown government employees to probe into the allegations of illegal gratification and extraneous consideration by the revenue and forest officials of Kathua district in allowing the sale and purchase of forest land.
The PE alleged that false certificates of the land, which comes under exempted category of Jammu &Kashmir Agrarian Reforms Act, 1976 were used by the educational trust in its alleged land-grabbing activities.
The PE claimed that the trust, a beneficiary of such alleged illegal acts, has in its possession huge tracts of land in gross violation of the ceiling prescribed under the Act.
It also alleged that erroneous information was submitted in the Jammu & Kashmir high court (HC) on June 9, 2015 as public interest litigation (PIL) in a bid to favour the trust, the official said.
Singh and the then industries minister Chander Prakash Ganga in the erstwhile BJP-Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) coalition government had to resign in 2018 after questions were raised over their participation in a Hindu Ekta Manch rally organised in support of those arrested in connection with the rape and murder of the girl in Kathua that year.