Powerful Samajwadi Party leader Azam Khan’s trouble seems to be mounting, as after Uttar Pradesh government contemplating to declare him as a “land mafia”, now he may be arrested in land grabbing cases.
As many as 13 cases have been registered against him, on the allegation that he illegally grabbed lands from farmers 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.
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 an accomplice in the crime, who has also been named in the case. 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.
Rampur police said that criminal case against Azam Khan and Alay Khan was registered after verifying all the facts. The 13 FIRs have been filed under sections 342 (wrongful confinement), 384 (extortion), 447 (criminal trespass) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code.
Mohammad Ali Jauhar University was established in 2006, during the term of SP government led by Mulayam Singh Yadav, when Azam Khan was a powerful minister of UP.
Congress leader Faisal Khan Lala termed Azam Khan a land mafia, saying he calls himself a saviour of Muslims, but in fact he grabbed land of poor Muslim farmers. Lala alleged that Azam Khan demolished the houses of farmers to grab their land for his trust. He said that not only land of farmers, Azam Khan also grabbed the ring road.
Last week Muslim farmers in Rampur organised a protest against Azam Khan. Faisal Khan Lala handed over a petition to the authorities on behalf of the farmers at the occasion, asking for action against the SP leader. He said that people in that area were living there for a long time, as they were allotted the plots by the Nawabs. But when Azam Khan was a minister, he illegally cancelled those allotments, demolished their homes using bulldozers, and occupied the land. He also said that Azam Khan has recently built a house there and hanged a board of a school, which is illegal. He also said that if the land is not returned to the original owners, people will take it back by doing Kar Seva.
It may be noted that in March this year the UP government had demolished the Urdu Gate built by Azam Khan in the Jauhar Ali University road in Rampur. No permission was taken to build the gate, and it had caused diversion of traffic.
In the meanwhile, Samajwadi Party had decided to support the Rampur MP in the case, saying that the charges are false. Party president Akhilesh Yadav has formed a 21 member committee to probe the ‘fake charges’ against Azam Khan, led by the leader of opposition in the Legislative Council Ahmad Hasan. The committee will visit Rampur to gather facts of the matter, and will submit their report to Akhilesh Yadav. Copies of the report will be given to Assembly speaker and Legislative Council chairperson also.