The Anuradha Bhasin quarter allotment case saw a new development with the Principal Secretary to Government Information Department writing a letter to Seema Mustafa, President, The Editors' Guild of India, and explaining in details about the entire case revolving around Quarter number 9, Pratap Park, Srinagar.

The Kashmir Times
The Kashmir Times

The Letter

The letter stated, "This has reference to a number of reports that have recently appeared in media regarding the residential accommodation allotted to Anuradha Bhasin, executive editor, Kashmir Times daily newspaper. In order to set the record straight of the factual report, details are as under.

The Kashmir Times newspaper and its editors, reporters and representatives are allotted five properties. The accommodation was allotted to Anuradha Bhasin for a period of one year only on 23 October 2009 and no extension in allotment was made thereafter.

However, the occupant neither vacated the quarter even after expiry of the allotted period nor deposited any rent for the same. In view of the above position, the estates department of the government of Jammu and Kashmir allotted the said quarter to Dr Heena Sadiq, assistant professor, on 31 July 2020 and initiated eviction proceedings against the illegal occupant.

Anuradha Bhasin was evicted after following the due procedure under law as per details. A show-cause notice was issued on 13 August 2020 wherein Anuradha Bhasin was asked to produce any documentary evidence in support of a claim within a period of seven days but she failed to produce any evidence in support of her claim within the prescribed period.

Anuradha Bhasin

Thereafter, an eviction order was passed against the occupant on 24 August 2020, whereby she was asked to vacate the said premises and also with the outstanding rent within a period of seven days failing which the estates department would have no other option except to take over the possession of said quarter.

After lapse of considerable time on 28 Sept 2020 the estates department took over the possession of the quarter in presence of police party and after preparation of proper inventory and video graphing of the process. Subsequently, on 2 Oct 2020, the physical possession of the quarter was handed over to new allottee under proper receipt.

The government allotted quarter number 9, Pratap Park in Srinagar, to Ved Bhasin the then editor of Kashmir Times as residential accommodation on 1 January 1994. The said allottee expired in November 2015. Upon the death of Ved Bhasin the government cancelled his allotment on 30 July 2020 with the directions that the clearance of previous outstanding shall be recovered by the department from the present editor of Kashmir Times.

After issuance of the above order, the department approached the office bearers of Kashmir Times and requested them to hand over the position of the quarter to the department who requested the department for some time to vacate the premises in view of the covid-19 pandemic. The department provided them suitable time for vacating the quarter and issued an eviction notice asking the concerned to vacate within seven days.

However, the premises were not vacated. Having exhausted all options, the department took over the possession of the quarter on 19 Oct 2020 in presence of the office bearers of Kashmir Times, which is being used by them for residential purpose. However, the outstanding amount on account of the rent of above said quarter amounting to Rs 4,52,314 till August 2020 is yet to be cleared by them.

Anuradha Bhasin's take

Anuradha Bhasin, Kashmir Times

It should be noted that Anuradha Bhasin had alleged about three weeks ago that some people had forcibly entered her house. She had stated, "Some goons, led by Dr Imran Ganai, brother of Shehnaz Ganai, former MLC, entered the government flat allotted to me at Wazarat Road (since 2000) and committed theft, stole my jewellery, silverware and other valuables in my house in connivance with Estates Deptt and some police personnel. Few cops in civvies were assisting them in the loot and they were present in every room and tried hiding their faces when I was clicking their photos."

She also cleared her stance on the quarter saying, "I am an authorized allottee of the govt flat (in which goons have forcibly entered, stolen and ransacked my belongings, hit and pushed us, and the police has refused to evict them) since 1999-2000. Before me, the flat was allotted to my father in 1969. Both allotments were done under the journalist category."

She further stated, "I have not been served with any show-cause or allotment cancellation notice till date. If there is one, it is deliberately not being sent to me. I tried to approach the Director/ Deputy Director to know the status. They did not respond."