Offer Rs 2 lakh to KASHMIR CENTRAL to not blow the lid off the scam
Huge bungling and siphoning of the donations given by the devotees in deep faith. This racket by the Auqaf Committee of Khiram Hazratbal Shrine in Anantnag district has come to the fore.
The scam runs in crores. It has been unearthed by an audit committee constituted by Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Mr Piyush Singla, IAS. The auditing of the funds received at the shrine was conducted after dozens of complaints that were received from the devotees and the members of the local community. The audit was conducted for the period April 2015 to August 2021.
Chairmen of Auqaf Committee Since 2015
The following have been the Chairmen of the Auqaf Committee of the shrine since April 2015 to August this year.
1. Ghulam Rasool Bhat, son of Gh Mohd Bhat – April 1, 2015 to June 19, 2015
2. Ali Mohd Bhat, son of Gh Mohiuddin Bhat – June 20, 2015 to March 31, 2018
3. Ghulam Rasool Bhat, son of Gh Mohd Bhat – April 1, 2018 to July 19, 2020
4. Gull Mohd Reshi, son of Gh Ahmad Reshi – July 20, 2020 till date
Gh Rasool Bhat is a Tehsildar in the state administration. He is a resident of Khiram village. Lakhs of devotees pay their obeisance at the shrine each year, where the holy relic of Prophet Mohammad (SAW) is housed. The donations made by the devotees at the shrine run into crores of rupees.
Pertinently, Gh Rasool Bhat was placed under suspension in 2019 when he was posted as the Tehsildar at Tral. Bhat was suspended for the withdrawal of Rs 8.5 lakh from the account of Auqaaf Islamia Tral fraudulently. An enquiry was ordered into the fraud by the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir.
Incumbent Auqaaf Committee Has No Legitimacy
The incumbent Auqaf committee has no legitimacy because no elections have been held to elect the members of the committee for over seven years now. When members of the incumbent illegitimate Auqaf Committee learnt that KASHMIR CENTRAL is going to publish a report on the wrongdoing of the committee, they approached the magazine office. Members of the team offered Rs 2 lakh to KASHMIR CENTRAL to not write anything about the misappropriation of funds by the members.
Rs 2 Lakh Offered For Stalling Probe Into Wrongdoings
A team of the management committee including acting chairman Gull Mohammad Reshi, Accounts Assistant Gh Mohiuddin Sheikh and one member Showkat Lone last week surprisingly reached the office of KASHMIR CENTRAL. The trio pleaded innocence regarding any charges of wrongdoing. They stated that they had been directed by Ghulam Rasool Bhat to visit KASHMIR CENTRAL.
The team offered Rs 2 lakh to the magazine requesting that the Audit Committee constituted by Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Piyush Singla should be stopped from auditing. KASHMIR CENTRAL refused the offer and insisted that the trio must leave the premises. KASHMIR CENTRAL has acquired the copy of the letter written by Deputy Commissioner Anantnag Piyush Singla to Principal Secretary Revenue, J&K Government. Excerpts from the letter have been provided in a box. Sub Divisional Magistrate (SDM) Bijbehara , is heading the Audit Committee constituted by DC Anantnag. The SDM recommended a detailed enquiry into the matter to dig out all relevant facts and arrive at a logical conclusion. DC Anantnag had earlier sought approval from Principle Secretary Revenue for disbanding the Auqaf Committee Khiram and giving the charge of efficient management at the revered shrine to Tehsildar Srigufwara
Elections For Auqaf Panel Not Held For Several Years
The Auqaf Committee at the Shrine had constructed one concrete structure near Auqaaf Office Khiram and some public washrooms. If there was any further construction to facilitate the devotees and the general public, it was undertaken by the government. The Langar-cum-meeting hall provided at the Shrine and the Library fully decorated with fine woodwork had been provided by the government.
Elections to the Auqaf Committee Khiram have not been held for several years now. Sources in the local community reveal that the committee members have occupied their places since the last few years. They are not willing to leave their positions, and are not providing an equal opportunity to others to get involved in the management affairs. Members of the local community allege that the Auqaf Committee indulged in fraudulent transactions and claimed payments which were actually not made. Locals also allege that the Auqaf Committee illegally and secretly sold the property of the shrine.
The property unauthorisedly sold by the Auqaf Committee includes a concrete two-storied building located at Bus Stand Khiram, occupying 4 marlas approximately. The committee also sold land to Gh Mohiuddin Sheikh (the present accountant of the committee) without advertising any auction notice of the land. The Committee unauthorisedly sold the property initially owned by one Rajab Parray. This was later purchased by the Auqaf with a building occupying approximately 720 square feet on the approximate measure of land 8 marlas to Ab Rehman Wagay (Shergojri) Additionally, locals allege that the committee also sold the assets of the Waqf worth crores, and did not show the incomes in the books of accounts.
The committee handed over the school building owned by the Auqaf Committee Khiram to Jamaat-e-Islami without any advertisement notice. The rent for the building was fixed by the Auqaf Committee at Rs 6000 only per annum. According to the R&B Department, the rent for this building stands at Rs 25,000 annually.
Committee Members Building Personal Fortunes
In the name of Karze- Hasana (loan without interest), the committee is siphoning the donations given by the devotees and using it to build their personal properties. The whole mess has been planned and executed under the patronage of Tehsildar Bijbehara Ghulam Rasool Bhat, who is the shadow administrator of the committee.
The committee has grabbed several kanals of kah charai (grazing land) land which was used as a playground of the children of Khiram. The committee also grabbed a three-room structure which was built to provide religious education to the children of the area. The structure was later handed over to Deobandis to run a madrasa in it without forming any rent deed. The present chairman of the Auqaf Committee, Gull Mohammad Reshi, works in the Agriculture Department as a daily wager. According to sources, he’s a period of dubious character. He has apparently forged his date of birth and is still drawing his wages from the coffers of the government.