Srinagar: Imran Sheikh, an Independent candidate from Jammu and Kashmir’s Anantnag-Rajouri Lok Sabha constituency, has 20 cases, including one under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act, registered against him over the past nine years.

This is the maximum number of cases against any of the 20 contestants from the constituency.

According to the affidavit filed by Sheikh along with his nomination papers, the cases are registered in nine different police stations in five districts of the union territory.

The first criminal case against Sheikh, who hails from Anantnag district, was registered in 2015 in Pampore police station of Pulwama district.

One of the criminal cases filed last year against the 37-year-old candidate include charges under section 11 (enticing a child for pornographic purposes or giving gratification there for) and section 12 (committing sexual harassment upon a child) of the POCSO Act.

Sheikh has also been booked in 2022 under section 309 (attempt to commit suicide and any act towards the commission of such offence) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC).

Most of the cases registered against Sheikh are under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) of the IPC but several of these cases have additional charges, including under section 201 (hiding or destroying evidence of a crime, knowing or believing that the offense has been committed, with the intention of protecting the offender from punishment) and section 380 (theft in dwelling house) of the IPC.

The other two cases are booked under sections 454 (offence in respect of lurking house-trespass or house-breaking in order to commit offence) and section 419 (cheating by personation).

Seven of the 20 cases against the Independent candidate have been registered in Saddar police station in Anantnag with six of those filed in 2022.

Sheikh is accused of committing criminal offences in Banihal area of Ramban district, Ram Munshi Bagh area of Srinagar district as well as Qaimoh area of Kulgam district.

According to the affidavit, charges have not been framed in court in any of the cases against Sheikh so far.

The affidavit also showed that both he and his spouse have PAN cards but none of them has filed income tax returns for the past nine years.

Shiekh has claimed that he works as a labourer and has an income of Rs 12,000 but has not specified whether it is his monthly or annual income. He has declared Rs 50,000 cash in hand, while his wife holds Rs 10,000.

Interestingly, he also owns two vehicles with a cumulative declared value of Rs 4 lakh.

There are two other candidates – both Independents – who have criminal cases registered against them. Sajad Ahmad Dar from Kulgam had a case registered against rioting in 2014 but charges have not been framed so far.

Dalip Kumar Pandita had a case under sections 353 and 506 of the IPC registered against him in 2019 for alleged intemperate behaviour with the complainant in the case. –(PTI)