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Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Massive Expose – Before the 2014 Elections, the Congress Govt Secretly Gifted properties worth ‘hundreds of crores’ to the WAQF Board

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There is a lot of buzz about the Islamic WAQF Board across the country at this time, it is an Islamic institution that is being accused of illegally occupying millions of acres of land. Recently, we have seen how the WAQF Board has claimed ownership of 7 Hindu-dominated villages and a 1500-year-old temple in Tamil Nadu’s Tiruchirappalli district, and locals are being forced to take permission certificates from the Waqf Board before buying and selling their land.

After this, there has been a demand across the country to abolish the unlimited powers given to the WAQF Board and ban it with immediate effect. While the controversy is going on, it has been learned that the Congress-led UPA government had gifted 123 very important government properties in Lutyens’ Delhi to the WAQF before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections.

Preparations for the Lok Sabha elections were underway at that time, and the decision was conveyed to everyone through a secret note just days before the elections. These properties are located in prime locations like Connaught Place, Ashoka Road, Mathura Road, and other VVIP enclaves in Delhi’s most important and expensive areas.

According to a Times Now report, the decision was taken on just one phone call to identify 123 government properties in favor of the Delhi Waqf Board. The news channel also shared a secret note, dated March 5, 2014, and signed by then additional secretary J P Prakash.

What’s written in that secret note?

“Denotification of 123 properties in Delhi under the control of Land and Development Office (LNDO) and Delhi Development Authority (DDA) to release formal details,” the note addressed to the Urban Development Ministry Secretary said. According to Times Now, the Delhi WAQF Board had written a supplementary note to the Government of India on February 27, 2014, claiming 123 prime properties in the national capital.

Importantly and shockingly, within a week of receiving the proposal, a ‘secret note’ was issued by the UPA Cabinet without following any procedure. The news channel also traced a notice from the Union Home Ministry, which said, “The Central Government is withdrawing control from these Waqf properties mentioned under the control of LNDO and DDA subject to the following conditions.”

The Congress-led UPA Government, in the entire process, admitted that 123 properties belonged to the Delhi WAQF Board, and after the Board gave a note, they immediately decided to release their ownership of those properties. It should be mentioned that the said properties were inherited from the British government and their status remained unchanged till March 5, 2014.

According to a senior ministry official, the de-notification process was done in haste, you will be surprised to know that this work was done a day before the model code of conduct came into force. Of the 123 properties, 61 were owned by LNDO, while the remaining 62 properties were owned by the DDA, and all of them were given to the WAQF Board.

The Modi govt initiated proceedings to take back these properties, but the work is still incomplete.

In early February 2015, the NDA government led by PM Modi decided to conduct an inquiry into the manner these government properties were gifted to the Delhi WAQF Board. On the other hand, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had approached the Delhi High Court against the decision.

The Vishwa Hindu Parishad had argued that valuable properties cannot be issued and identified in this manner under Section 48 of the Land Acquisition Act. Speaking about this, the then Urban Development Minister M Venkaiah Naidu had said, “I have received a representation against Salman Khurshid, on the eve of his demitting office last year, he was instrumental in the transfer of these properties keeping in mind vote bank politics.

In May 2016, the BJP government had set up an inquiry committee headed by retired Delhi Higher Judicial Service officer J R Aryan. It was given the task of submitting the report within a period of 6 months. In June 2017, it was reported that the committee had recommended that the final decision on ownership of 123 properties should be taken by the Delhi WAQF Commissioner. An official said that the JR Aryan Committee failed to examine the main issue of de-notification i.e. whether the properties actually belonged to the WAQF.

This was despite the fact that it was tasked with knowing the views of all stakeholders. Even though it was given an additional 6-month extension, the inquiry committee failed to come up with a concrete solution and put the onus on the WAQF Board commissioner. It suggested that DDA and LNDA take up the matter with the WAQF Commissioner for resolution.

It is important to know here that the power to appoint the Delhi WAQF Board Commissioner rests with the Delhi government, which is run by the Arvind Kejriwal-led Aam Aadmi Party. Amanatullah Khan is the current chairman of the Delhi WAQF Board, and he has been yesterday by ACB while investigating a scam associated with the WAQF board.

Is the central government finally moving forward to resolve this issue completely?

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