“This action was actually expected in 2017, when they started construction. At that time JDA did not take any action, but as soon as we highlighted this matter and filed RTI, JDA accepted that this is an illegal construction”
In a major embarrassment for the former Deputy Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Jammu Development Authority (JDA) has ordered demolition of his ‘illegally’ constructed house at village Ban in Nagrota.
As per order vide no JDA/BOCA/A/1271-76 dated 8-11-2021, JDA issued an order of demolition in terms of section 7(3) of control of Building operation Act, 1988 to Dr. Nirmal Singh and his wife Mamta Singh.
“If you fail to remove the illegal construction with stipulated period of time the same shall be demolished by enforcement wing of JDA and cost of removal shall be recovered from you as arrears of land revenue,” the notice further reads.
Earlier, in reply to the RTI query, Dr Kusum Chib, Jammu Development Authority (JDA) Collector, Land Acquisition, and Public Information Officer stated, “Two cases of illegal constructions were reported — one by Nirmal Singh, ex-Dy CM, and second by Vijay Kumar Sharma.”
About the present status of these constructions, she said that the matter regarding Nirmal Singh is “under Govt of Law’’, and “work is stopped till date” in the other case.
As per reports, Dr Nirmal Singh and his family had moved into the new bungalow, near the Army’s ammunition sub-depot (ASD), on July 23, 2021. The house is built on 2,000-square meters next to the Army’s ammunition sub depot in Nagrota. The plot is part of land measuring 12 acres, purchased by some senior BJP leaders through a company named Himgiri Infrastructure Development Limited, of which Mamta Singh was a shareholder.
The company had taken a term loan of Rs 18.50 crore along with a cash credit facility of Rs 56.83 lakh from Jammu and Kashmir Bank in 2012 to set up a power project in Himachal’s Chamba district. The Indian Express had reported on May 14, 2018, that the account was declared a non-performing asset in December 2017.
Even though the High Court had in May 2018 directed the authorities to ensure “strict implementation” of a 2015 notification barring the general public from construction within 1,000 yards of defence works.
The May 7, 2018 HC order was in response to a writ petition filed by the Centre, challenging the construction of a bungalow on the site. The petition stated that the under-construction house was only 580 yards from the perimeter boundary wall of the ASD in Nagrota. The petition was filed after civil and police officials did not stop construction activity from being carried out by Mamta Singh, wife of Nirmal Singh, then Speaker of J&K Assembly, despite written requests from top Army officials at Nagrota-based 16 Corps Headquarters.
The Centre moved HC twice — on May 15, 2018, and December 20, 2018 — seeking initiation of contempt proceedings against officials of the then state government for willfully not implementing the court’s May 7 order.
The court issued notice to then Jammu Divisional Commissioner Hemant Sharma; Jammu Deputy Commissioner Kumar Rajeev Ranjan; and then Jammu SSP Vivek Gupta and asked them to file a compliance report.
Meanwhile, talking to The Typewriter, Advocate Sheikh Shakeel, who happens to follow such cases, stated that finally better sense has prevailed upon JDA.
“This action was actually expected in 2017, when they started construction. At that time JDA did not take any action, but as soon as we highlighted this matter and filed RTI, JDA accepted that this is an illegal construction,” said Sheikh Shakeel, adding that they never applied for building permission.
He further said that now when JDA realized that the matter has come out in public domain, they took this step.
“Although this is a delayed and belated step, still I believe law of the land has prevailed,” he said and added that this is victory of law.