Mumbai: Accused Of Illegal Land Sale, Minara Masjid Trust Gets Wakf Notice

Mumbai: Accused Of Illegal Land Sale, Minara Masjid Trust Gets Wakf Notice

Allegations are flying thick and fast that it sold a plot of land at the Grant Road to another trust in violation of court orders.

Manoj RamakrishnanUpdated: Thursday, February 01, 2024, 12:49 AM IST
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Minara Masjid |

The Minara Masjid Trust, which manages the eponymous mosque on the Mohammed Ali Road and other properties, is again in the eye of a controversy. Allegations are flying thick and fast that it sold a plot of land at the Grant Road to another trust in violation of court orders.

The Maharashtra State Board of Wakf, the statutory body looking into the management of Muslim religious organisations, said it has issued notices to the trust about illegal property transactions. However, it did not specify the name of the assets that were the subject matter of the notice.

A complaint by Warees Ali Sayeed, a resident of Mumbai, had raised questions about the deal, concerning a property next to the Muzafarbad mosque, Grant Road. He sought investigations to find out whether the transaction happened with the Wakf's permission.

Violation under Wakf law

Maharashtra State Board of Wakf Chief Executive Officer Moin Tashildar said, “Notices have been issued under section 51 and 52 of the Wakf law for illegal alienation of property.” Abdul Wahab Latif, managing trustee of Minara Masjid Trust, didn't respond to this newspaper's queries.

The Trust contends that it is not under the jurisdiction of the Wakf Board. It has said that it reports to the Charity Commissioner as it was established in the pre-independence days. Wakf properties are meant to be used only for religious purposes and are regulated by a separate law. After the enactment of the Wakf law, jurisdiction of mosque trusts passed from the Charity Commissioner to the Wakf Board.

1,00,000 hectares of Wakf land in Maharashtra

Maharashtra has around 1,00,000 hectares of Wakf land. In 2019, the Maharashtra government cancelled about 70 transactions involving Wakf properties as the deals violated the Supreme Court order that put a stay on leasing out or sale of properties administered by the Wakf Board. There have also been complaints that the Charity Commissioner has given permission for some of the transactions of such properties in violation of SC orders.

“In fact, the trustee himself had stated in a press release that the court case was still ongoing and no decision had been made yet. However, the sale of the land raises questions about the trustee's statement and the legality of the sale,” said the complainant about the Minara Masjid deal.

This is not the first case where the mosque trust is fighting a legal case with the government. In January 2023, the Maharashtra State Board of Wakf had issued a notice to the trust, stating that the latter is a Wakf board property and had cautioned anyone from illegally renting or selling it.

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