Haryana’s Waqf Board gets embroiled in land scam allegations

The Manohar Lal Khattar led Haryana government has reportedly got involved in a tussle with the state Waqf board, which is facing accusation of mismanagement and has also denied information to the various RTI queries directed towards it.

The Haryana government’s information commission has reportedly found the first appellate authority of the Waqf board guilty of hiding facts from the public regarding all the Waqf properties and their current status. The authorities also observed in their 20 June order that the Waqf board deliberately delayed the furnishing of information to RTI activist Harinder Dhingra because of ulterior motives. The commission has also called for appropriate action against Imtiyaz Khizar, who is the first Appellate Authority of the Waqf board.

Waqf is nothing but a grant made by Muslims to religious or charitable institutions and can either be in the form of land or any other endowment. The Waqf is regulated and managed by various state Waqf boards who in-turn are answerable to the Central Waqf Council. According to the Indian law, the Waqf board’s possessions cannot be either sold or transferred and can only be used for the community’s welfare. Waqf boards also get government grants to carry out their activities.

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According to RTI activist Dhingra, Waqf properties in Haryana have long been mismanaged and he wanted information regarding the manner and the people to whom the properties were leased out, which was ultimately denied to him. Incidentally it were Dhingra’s efforts which led to the Haryana state Waqf board coming under the purview of the RTI act in 2012.

This isn’t the only time state Waqf boards have been a center of similar irregularities.

It has been alleged that if the findings of a Waqf board scam in Karnataka were made public, as many as 10 ministers of the Congress led Karnataka government would go to jail. It has been alleged that 40-50% of the land allocated to the Waqf board has been embezzled and over a whopping 2.3 lakh crore worth of land was denotified for either personal use or was sold to the land mafia.

In March, the Maharashtra government had suspended the Waqf Board Chief Executive Officer Naseeba Bano Patel, after she was found guilty of wrongly ruling that a 2500 crore Waqf board property was a non-waqf one. This resulted in the encroaches upon the land becoming legal heirs who were then compensated by a builder who is all set to build a township on that plot.

Even top political leaders have seen themselves involved in irregularities involving the Waqf board. Recently it was reported that SP leader Azam Khan had unlawfully transferred 3.5 acre of Waqf board property worth Rs 500 crores to his close friend Shahzeb Khan. Azam Khan then allegedly sold the property and as a result made crores of rupees.

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