Nod to raze Nirmal Singh’s Jammu house, near Army site

In a demolition order dated November 8, the Authority directed both to “remove the illegal structure on your own level within five days from the date of issuance of this order’’.

The Jammu Development Authority (JDA) has directed former J&K state Deputy CM and senior BJP leader Nirmal Singh, and his wife Mamta Singh, to demolish their bungalow at Ban village near an Army ammunition sub-depot in Nagrota, stating that it has been constructed without permission from the competent authority.

In a demolition order dated November 8, the Authority directed both to “remove the illegal structure on your own level within five days from the date of issuance of this order’’.

“If you fail to remove the illegal construction within the stipulated period of time, the same shall be demolished by the enforcement wing of JDA and cost of removal shall be recovered from you as arrears of land revenue,’’ states the order issued by Building Operations Controlling Authority, Jammu.

When contacted, Nirmal Singh said he has asked his lawyers to challenge the demolition order in court.

The order points out that “in response to the show cause notice under Section 7(1) of J&K Control of Building Operation Act, 1988, served to you, no reply or reply of the same has not been by this office till date’’. It also referred to notices served to them under Sections 12(1) and 12(2) of the Act asking them to stop and remove the construction.

A senior JDA official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said: “Let us wait for the expiry of the time period given to demolish the structure and see what action the party takes.’’

Claiming that he was being “singled out”, Nirmal Singh said: “It appears to have become part of the agenda of some people to get this politicised.”

Referring to his political rivals, he said: “There are thousands of houses being constructed in Jammu even today, but a jihadi group has been after me. They don’t look at Bathindi, how the houses of (NC leaders) Farooq Abdullah and Omar Abdullah have come up there. There should be rule of law, but why am I being singled out?’’

Singh did not elaborate on the allegations or provide any details of the “jihadi group” he was referring to.

On August 13, The Indian Express reported that Singh and his family had moved into their newly constructed independent bungalow, built on a 2,000-square metre plot, on July 23.

The move came despite court orders in May 2018 directing authorities to ensure “strict implementation” of a 2015 government notification barring the general public from construction within 1,000 yards of defence works.

The High Court order was in response to a writ petition filed by the Union government challenging the construction of the bungalow, stating it was just 580 yards from the perimeter boundary wall of the sub-depot.

The petition was filed after civil and police officials did not stop construction activity despite written requests from top Army officials at Nagrota-based 16 Corps Headquarters.

A month after construction started on the plot in October 2017, the Army had asked the then Jammu Deputy Commissioner in a letter to order the police and civil administration to stop the activity, stating that it was in violation of the Works of Defence Act, 1903. No action was taken.

Nirmal Singh was then the Deputy Chief Minister of the Jammu and Kashmir state. He remained in office till April 30, 2018.

On September 26 this year, The Indian Express reported that the Union Territory administration had described the bungalow as an “illegal” construction in response to an RTI query from an advocate, Muzaffar Ali Shan.

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