Former Uttar Pradesh minister and Samajwadi leader Azam Khan has been declared as a ‘land mafia’ by the Uttar Pradesh government, after his name was added to ‘anti land-mafia’ portal late on Thrusday, 19 July.
The Rampur district administration put Khan's name on the 'anti-land mafia' portal later on after 23 FIRs were lodged against him on land-grabbing charges, reported news agency ANI.
"“Till date 23 FIRs have been registered against SP MP Azam Khan in connection with land encroachment. As per the complaints filed by farmers, the police officials used to threaten them and grab the land illegally. A team has been formed to investigate the matter.” " - Ajay Pal Sharma, SP Rampur
Along with Azam Khan, retired circle officer Ale Hassan’s name has also been included.
What Does A ‘Land Mafia’ Mean?
Rampur District Magistrate, Aunjaneya Kumar explains that any case against a person whose name is on the ‘anti-land mafia’ portal will be monitored directly by the government and legal action will be taken, reported news agency ANI.
"“We have a routine process where when it is proved that someone’s land has been illegally acquired, with the case having a criminal angle and an FIR has been registered then the name of the one who had encroached upon the land is included in government’s anti-land mafia portal.”" - Aunjaneya Kumar, Rampur District MagistrateAzam Khan’s Defense
Khan alleges that the cases registered against him are false and that he is being unnecessarily harassed. He says he’s being punished for winning the election against BJP and is open to all forms of investigation into the matter, reported ANI.
"“My name was put up on the portal just on the basis of FIRs without conducting any preliminary inquiries. Most of the FIRs were registered within hours and this shows how the law was misused for political vendetta. Most of the complainants had already filed their apologies on affidavits before the courts also but now the administrative officials have lured them and fooled them to file an FIR against Azam Khan because he is very affluent and wealthy and they will get the handsome amount from him,”" - Azam Khan, Samajwadi Party leader
Protesting against this, the SP MLAs claim to stage a protest demanding the state to withdraw all charges against Khan.
" “All the SP MLAs will protest again, this time before the Speaker inside the Assembly on Friday.”" - Haji Iqram Qureshi, SP MLA from Moradabad Dehat constituency
The party has also formed a high-level delegation comprising of MLAs and MLCs who will be looking into the matter. They will visit Rampur on 20 July and submit a report within three days.
(With Inputs from ANI and IANS)
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