The Minister of State for Minority Affairs also said that "there were reports" that some members of the state Waqf boards have also committed such "sin".
Union minister Mukhtar Abbas Naqvi today said over 50 per cent of Waqf properties in the country have been “grabbed” by the mafias and strict action will be taken against them soon. The Minister of State for Minority Affairs also said that “there were reports” that some members of the state Waqf boards have also committed such “sin”. He said the government has formed a one-man ‘Board of Adjudication’ at the central-level, under the chairmanship of retired Supreme Court judge M Y Eqbal, to look into the Waqf-related disputes. There are around 4.49 lakh registered and non-registered Waqf properties in the country.
“More than half of the Waqf properties are under the clutches of the mafias and it has come to our notice that the people of several state Waqf boards are also involved in this sin. “A high-level inquiry has been going on into these matters and strict action will be taken against those who are responsible in two months,” Naqvi told reporters after addressing 75th meeting of Central Waqf Council here.
He, however, did not name any state where the Waqf board members are allegedly involved in “grabbing the properties”. When asked whether the alleged delay in enacting the Waqf Properties (Eviction of Unauthorised Occupants) Act, 2014 will be an impediment in acting against the “encroachers”, Naqvi replied in negative. As its names suggests, the Act, currently being examined by the Group of Ministers, has provisions to evict illegal occupants from the Waqf properties.
“The existing laws are adequate to act against such people…criminal procedures can be initiated against them,” he added. The government has made a provision of Rs 3.30 crore for computerisation of records of state Waqf boards, Rs 9.70 crore for their strengthening and Rs 3.18 crore as grants-in-aid to Waqf for 2017-18. The Minister said 24 states have set up three-member tribunals at their levels to deal with complaints related to Waqf.