Woman found guilty of selling religious waqf land worth $2.5 billion.
Naseem Banu Patel is the former Chief Executive Officer of a Muslim organization that was in charge of land endowment used for religious purposes, or waqf. Waqf involves donating a building, land, or other assets for Muslim religious or charitable purposes, with no intention of reclaiming the donated assets. Patel, however, misused her power, selling waqf land to a developer, and declaring it as non-waqf.
The land in question belonged to Masjid Doodhwari Katra and had been first donated as waqf land by King Shahjahan in the 15th century. The land, which covered 55 acres, was in the prime location of Nashik. It now has a township being developed upon it. The builder eventually obtained permission to continue the development, by paying compensation to those who proved themselves to be legal heirs to the land after Patel had declared it non-waqf.
Patel was suspended from her role, and stated that the land in Nashik was not a waqf property. In the preliminary inquiry conducted by the minorities department, Patel was found guilty of fraud.
Under the Indian Maharashtra Public Services Act, 1979, a preliminary inquiry found Patel guilty of declaring a Waqf property worth 25 billion rupees non-waqf, despite evidence supporting the claim. Patel was removed from the position of Chief Executive of the Waqf Board.
Financial Loss for Developer, Loss of Assets for Landowner, Loss of Charitable Assets