LUCKNOW: A day after putting its seal on the order to dissolve UP Shia and Sunni Waqf Boards on charges of rampant corruption, the Yogi Adityanath government today removed six members of the Shia Waqf Board from their positions.
The government had decided to dissolve both the boards on the recommendations of the Central Waqf Council which claimed, after a probe, that the bodies were in the grip of graft.
Members of the UP Shia Waqf Board who were shown the door include former Rajya Sabha member Akhtar Hassan, Moradabad’s Sayyed Wali Haider, Afsha Zaidi of Muzaffarnagar, Sayyed Azim Hussain, Nazmul Hassan Rizwi and Alima Zaidi of Bareilly. Notably, the board had 10 members and the six sacked on Saturday were nominated during the previous Samajwadi Party regime.
Earlier, the government had accepted the recommendation of the probe committee of the Central Wakf Council (CWC) of the Union Ministry for minority affairs. Led by Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand Waqf Boards incharge Syed Ejaz Abbas Naqvi, the committee recommended that a CBI probe be conducted into alleged financial and land irregularities that officials of both the boards had allegedly been involved in.
The CWC probe team also recommended a CBI probe on former cabinet minister and senior SP leader Azam Khan and his wife over charges of Waqf land grabbing and transfer of funds.
Soon after assuming power in the state, the Yogi Adityanath government is said to have been inundated with complaints of corruption against the chairmen of both the Waqf boards from various quarters of the Muslim community, following which the state government assigned the CWC the task of inquiring into the functioning of both – the Shia and Sunni Waqf boards.
The CWC probe team, in its report, had reportedly underlined the rampant corruption in the boards which the report said reached a crescendo during the previous regime with Azam Khan holding the Waqf portfolio. The report not only indicted Azam Khan, who was in-charge of minority affairs then, but also Shia Waqf board chief Wasim Raza.
“The decision to act against both the Waqf bodies is based on concrete evidence of corruption and swindling of funds produced by Central Waqf Council in its probe report which has been submitted to the CM,” said Minister of State for Minority Affairs, Mohsin Raza.
Having learnt of the government decision, senior Shia cleric Kalbe Jawwad too pitched in for the dissolution of the bodies calling them a hub of corruption.
Meanwhile Shia Waqf Board’s chief Waseem Raza rejected the CWC report calling it an ineligible agency to conduct the probe and dared the government to dissolve the board as it could not be done in the middle of its tenure which would end in 2020. Azam Khan rejected the CWC report, calling it malicious. He reiterated his allegation that Yogi Adityanath government was targeting minorities by attacking their institutions and framing their leaders as corrupt.