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Darjeeling Municipality councillor Zahid Khan arrested over waqf property row

Darjeeling Municipality councillor Zahid Khan arrested over waqf property row
The employees’ union of Darjeeling Municipality stalled work today after the Sadar police acted on an FIR and arrested a councillor, Zahid Khan.
The FIR was filed by the waqf board over a property-related dispute of the Anjuman Islamia.
The complaint lodged by the chief executive officer of the state board of the waqf has alleged that eight former jury committee members (Matwali) of Anjuman Islamia, the main governing body of the minority community in Darjeeling Hills, “misused” property owned by the waqf.
The arrest followed a condemnation by a section of the minority community in Darjeeling today, with one section, under the banner of the Gorkhey Muslim Darjeeling, saying that the motive of the state board of the waqf was “unauthorized and politically motivated.”
Later, they put up posters in the heart of the town that said the Muslim community would go for a shutdown of the town tomorrow in protest against the arrest and the charges levelled by the waqf.
"They have been charged with misutilizing the body's property," Assistant Public Prosecutor Pankaj Prasad said. The accused have been booked under sections 420, 406, 409, 471, 468, 120b and 55A of the Waqf Act.
"Without the consent of the state board of the waqf, the eight former jury members gave a nod to build a complex at two different venues. The FIR states that the land is the property of the waqf. The accused have also been charged with laundering more than Rs 5 crore," Mr Prasad said.
According to sources the board of the waqf was formed as per the l995 Central Act and was implemented in every state of the country to manage and control the property of the waqf.
"Under this provision, they appoint eight members known as Matwali to look after the property related work," said one of the members of the new committee of the Anjuman.
Defense lawyer Dipankar Dey said the allegation made by the waqf is baseless.
“The land where the two complexes are being built is an independent property and the Anjuman Islamia had leased it from the Darjeeling Municipality," he said.
"The court has demanded the khatian of the land, which we are trying to procure at the earliest," the lawyer said.
Councillor Zahid Khan, who heads the mutation department of Darjeeling Municipality, was one of the former members of the eight-member jury of the Anjuman Islamia.
He was produced in the Chief Judicial Magistrate Court of Darjeeling today and sent to four days’ police remand.

Source: Statesman news service

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