‘Massive’ fraud feared: Johar Town exemption of plots under LDA scrutiny

LAHORE, June 23: The Land Development Wing of the Lahore Development Authority has unearthed several irregularities and frauds in exemption of plots in Johar Town, directing the officials concerned to scrutinize all exemption cases.

The exemption of plots means the developed plots that are given under the law to those who surrender their land to the LDA at the time of developing any new residential scheme.

The probe was ordered by the LDA Director General Ahad Cheema after he received several complaints on the issue, it is learnt.

Sources told Dawn that when the Johar Town scheme was launched in 1986, many landholders surrendered their land to the LDA (after their land was declared in the award list as included in scheme under the Land Acquisition Act.)

“Though the LDA gave plots to each landowner under the law, most of them succeeded in getting plots again through forged revenue documents in connivance with corrupt LDA staff and agents/property dealers,” an insider requesting anonymity told this reporter.

He said similarly there were also some landlords who didn’t surrender their land but filed petitions in various courts of law against the LDA and the quarters concerned. He said there were several cases in which the landowners succeeded in getting plots twice from the LDA by having their original files disappeared, tempering record related to Khsara number (agriculture land number in revenue record), changing the property title and making new files of their properties with fake names etc in connivance with LDA officials.

He said the Johar Town was the scheme where the land mafia looted the LDA with both hands in dozens of cases related to exemption of plots. He said at the moment the officials concerned were finding fraud in every second file related to exemption of plots. “Most of the people have succeeded in getting plots through double exemption,” LDA Director (Land Development-I) Muhammad Imran Raza Abbasi said

He said as the probe was underway. The DG had banned entry of all irrelevant government and private officials in all offices (except the one-window cell situated outside the main building) of the LDA’s Johar Town Complex. He said an effective strategy was also being worked out in order to capture those who succeeded in getting exemption plots twice from the LDA. The official said the LDA had also made transparent the system/mechanism dealing with such cases.

He said he as well as other officials concerned were now facing pressure from the land mafia. He said the mafia had managed protests outside the Johar Town LDA Complex during the last two days since the DG banned the entry of irrelevant people into the offices.

He said the LDA administration would also constitute a committee that would recommend concrete steps to eliminate corruption in exemption cases and suggest action against those who managed double exemption.

HELD: LDA Patwari Muhammad Aamir was caught red handed by the Lahore Anti-Corruption Establishment here on Saturday while he was taking Rs50,000 as bribe from an applicant seeking no-objection certificate/report related to his property.

According to LDA press release, the accused was demanding Rs600,000 from an applicant for issuance of NOC for transfer of a house located in Gulberg area.

A special raiding party, headed by Assistant Director (Investigation) Riaz Ahmad, caught the accused while he was taking bribe from the applicant.

Source: http://dawn.com/2012/06/24/massive-fraud-feared-johar-town-exemption-of-plots-under-lda-scrutiny/