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FBI to probe JK forest official's arrest
Sumir Kaul in New Delhi | September 25, 2007 17:22 IST
A top official of Jammu and Kashmir's [Images] State Forest Corporation, who was arrested for allegedly concealing his American citizenship, faces double trouble with the US Federal Bureau of Investigation also planning to send a team to the state to probe the matter.
The US embassy in New Delhi had been informed about arrest of SFC's former Managing Director Aizaj Ahmed Shah under the Indian Passport Act for allegedly suppressing information about his US citizenship while applying for an Indian travel document.
Shah, who was arrested on September 19, is at present in police custody till September 26.
The US embassy had sought some more details about the case which had been furnished to them, sources in the Jammu and Kashmir state Home Department said.
The sources said the US was now planning to send a team to examine Shah, who may also be booked by the US for alleged violation of their laws in procuring the American passport in 2000.
Shah may be slapped with some more charges including violation of Foreigners Act and Immigration Act as he had given a wrong address on disembarkation card during his travel from the US in May this year.
The former MD, who was relieved of his charge last month by Chief Minister Ghulam Nabi Azad following certain allegations, had travelled on a US passport in May and mentioned his address as "H-43; Kalkaji, New Delhi" on his disembarkation card. The address was later found to be a fake one, the sources said.
A US embassy spokesman said it had been informed by the Jammu and Kashmir Government about Shah's arrest.
Shah had allegedly violated the Foreigners Act for entering Jammu and Kashmir without an "inner line permit" as required by every foreign national. According to the rules, Shah was a foreign national as he had used his US passport during his last entry into the country.
The appointment of Shah, done during the tenure of PDP Minister Tariq Ahmed Qarra as state's forest and environment portfolio, had also raised certain eyebrows as he was put in charge of SFC despite the fact that he had been on leave without pay and alleged unauthorised absence from duty for several years.
While making the appointment, Shah had superceded several other officials, the sources said.
The state police seized some documents and Shah's personal laptop from his residence after arresting him.
Shah was relieved of the post of Managing Director of SFC last month following allegations that artificial timber scarcity was created in the state.
This was followed by senior PDP minister Qazi Afzal being relieved of the Forest portfolio which led to a war of words between ruling Congress and its ally PDP.