Asia

CBI team in J&K for Patnitop probe

NEW DELHI: The CBI has dispatched a special team of 30 officers to probe alleged violations of the master plan in the Patnitop area in Jammu & Kashmir, a fortnight after the state high court directed the agency to complete the investigation within eight weeks and submit its report.
Sources said the role of a former minister was under the scanner and he may soon be asked to join investigation. The agency had registered a preliminary enquiry to probe complaints that 59 hotels and resorts were violating the master plan, officials said.
The special team was rushed to cover the “exhaustive probe” even as the agency faces a tight deadline. The officials are learnt to be stationed in Patnitop, Udhampur and Jammu and have collected documents of 50 properties in question from various authorities of the newly created Union Territory.
It has been alleged that 70% of hotels in Patnitop were running without registration and authorisation from the competent authority. “Non-compoundable deviation by property owners in Patnitop area was illegally compounded by a special tribunal which was not challenged in most of the cases by the Patnitop Development Authority,” an official said.
The authorities took no action despite non deposit of compounding fee by the hoteliers, he said. The tribunal compounded violations even in instances where no permission was taken for raising buildings, he said. Hotel owners had put electricity and water connections obtained for domestic use to commercial use and the properties were being run on the licences for guesthouses, the official added.
On December 31 last year, a Jammu & Kashmir high court division bench of Chief Justice Gita Mittal and Justice Rajesh Bindal had directed the CBI to start an investigation into all aspects of the case, including issue of licences and permissions grRead More – Source