Trouble for the Samajwadi Party’s powerful leader, Azam Khan seems to be mounting as eight new cases of land grabbing in Rampur district of Uttar Pradesh have been filed against him, taking the count of total cases to 34.
Prior to this, the total number of FIRs in cases relating to land grab against Khan stood at 26. Criminal cases against Khan have been lodged at the Azim Nagar police station in Rampur on the complaints of 26 farmers. The farmers have alleged that Azam Khan had illegally detained them and pressured them to sign forged sale deeds to acquire several thousand hectares of land from them. But when they didn’t do so, the land was forcefully grabbed.
The then Rampur circle officer Alay Hassan Khan was also allegedly an accomplice in the crime, has also been named in the cases. It is alleged that Alay had adducted the farmers who had refused to sell land to Azam Khan, and registered their land in the name of the university without any payment.
Yesterday, Rampur police recorded the statement of three farmers. The Azim Nagar police said the complaints against Khan were verified and found to be genuine.
According to the complaints, the farmers’ lands were illegally grabbed by the SP leader using forged documents for construction of the Mohammed Ali Jauhar University in Rampur. The multi-million private university is run by Azam Khan’s trust.
The State government has set up a nine-member Special Investigation Team (SIT) to probe the charges. The complainants have also met Governor Ram Naik seeking action against the alleged land grabbers.
The UP Governor, Ram Naik, in turn, has written to CM Yogi Adityanath demanding action against the SP leader, Azam Khan. Naik has also reportedly asked the state government to seize the university.
Moreover, the Enforcement Directorate (ED) is also examining cases of alleged land grab against Samajwadi Party MP to determine whether money laundering investigations can be initiated in the matter. Khan’s name was added in the UP government’s website of land scam offenders as a land mafia.
“We are looking into details to decide if a probe under the Prevention of Money Laundering Act can be conducted,” said a senior ED official, on condition of anonymity. “The agency is empowered to take up all the FIRs registered under scheduled offences as listed in the Act,” the official added.
Azam Khan has, however, refuted the allegations claiming that he is being targeted because he defeated the BJP candidate in the Lok Sabha elections. Recently, Khan had also stated that Muslims in India are suffering the consequences of not choosing to go to Pakistan during the partition.