The Indian Army has filed a contempt petition in the High Court against Mamta Singh, wife of senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh for alleged violation of a court order for the illegal construction of his house adjacent to an ammunition depot along the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway, Kashmir Monitor reported.
On 7 May, the court had ordered Singh to not go ahead with the construction following the objections raised by the army in petition, the report added. In its petition, the army said the construction was illegal and was happening in a prohibited zone under the provisions of the Works of Defence Act, 1903.
The army had objected to the security risk posed to the ammunition depot of the army situated adjacent to the piece of land owned by her, PTI reported.
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In March this year, the army had written a letter to the then Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh to stop construction work as it was within the prohibited zone.
"It has implications on the security of a major ammunition storage facility as well as the safety of personnel living in close vicinity of the ammunition depot." - Commander of Army’s 16 Corps Lt General Saranjeet Singh said in a letter addressed to Nirmal Singh on 19 March
Singh had resigned as the deputy chief minister on 30 April ahead of a major reshuffle in the state cabinet.
Did Not Violate Norms While Constructing House: Mamta Singh
Mamta Singh, Singh’s wife on 13 May claimed that no rules were violated during the construction of their house in Nagrota area and asserted that they had the required permission, PTI report added.
“It is a private land in my name and the issue will be decided by the court,” Mamta Singh told reporters in Jammu, stating that it is no secret and can be probed.
"Please don’t lend ear to the rumours. We are nationalist and can never say anything against the army. Visit the place and investigate on your own and you will come to know the real position." - Mamata Singh said, PTI reported
The matter not only concerned his property but thousands of acres of land of villagers and farmers around the ammunition depot, Nirmal Singh told PTI.
The J&K Assembly Speaker said that he had started constructing the house on a 2,000 square metre plot last year. According to a PTI report, the land in question was bought in 2000 by the Himgiri Infrastructure Development Private Limited, whose shareholders included present J&K Deputy Chief Minister Kavinder Gupta and BJP MP Jugal Kishore besides Nirmal Singh.
Cong Demands Probe into Construction of House near Army Installation
The Congress on 14 May had demanded a probe into the alleged illegal construction of a house and accused the Narendra Modi government of compromising on national security.
Congress communication in-charge Randeep Surjewala asked whether the prime minister would hold a probe into the "illegal activities" of BJP leaders who had carried out unauthorised construction next to the army ammunition depot in Nagrota.
In a statement, Jammu and Kashmir Pradesh Congress Committee chief spokesperson Ravinder Sharma said, "An inquiry by an independent agency should be ordered into the entire land deal including the huge advancing of loans by a bank to the high profile company.”
Omar Targets BJP over Alleged Illegal Construction
Opposition National Conference leader Omar Abdullah on 15 May targeted the BJP over the issue of alleged illegal construction in a tweet.
Dear @BJP4India the Indian Army is moving court against the J&K Speaker’s (until recently Deputy CM) wife & yet we hear nothing from you about these anti-national people who are a threat to national security. May I ask why? https://t.co/BUiIxrw5Hc— Omar Abdullah (@OmarAbdullah) May 16, 2018
Adding to Nirmal Singh’s woes, Jammu Chamber of Commerce and Industry asked PM Modi to “sack him immediately’’ for his utterances against the Indian Army, Indian Express reported.
(With inputs from PTI, Indian Express)
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