LDA expands probe into fake plot transfers

LAHORE, Aug 6: The recent dismissals, compulsory retirement and forfeiture of increments of various senior and junior officials of the Lahore Development Authority indicate that the present LDA administration seems serious in exposing and eliminating land mafia involved in the fake transfer of plots not only in Johar Town but other residential schemes of the provincial metropolis as well.

On Aug 3, LDA Director General Ahad Khan Cheema imposed major and minor penalties on as many as 12 LDA officials for their alleged involvement in the fake transfer of three plots at Johar Town by retiring compulsorily the director (revenue) Haroon Rashid, assistant director (identification) Muhammad Yasin, assistant director (computer) Mian Ashfaq and junior clerk Naseem Abbas.

The DG had also dismissed data entry operator Bilal Rahat and junior clerk Akhtar Mumtaz besides stopping annual increments of others.

Officials told Dawn that the LDA administration also got on Monday a criminal case registered with Johar Town police against its seven officials and two private persons allegedly involved in the Johar Town plots scam that was unearthed after the accused succeeded in transferring plot Nos 181,196 and 223 to people by preparing forged documents. The officials and private persons against whom the case was registered included Mian Ashfaq (assistant director computer), Muhammad Yaseen (assistant director identification), Akhtar Mumtaz and Naseem Abbas (junior clerks), Bilal Rahat (data entry operator), Khurram Shahzad (computer operator) and Khalid Iqbal (senior accountant) and two private persons, Syed Tanveer, a resident of Garden Town and Muhammad Mateen Malik of Samanabad.

Officials told Dawn that police in cooperation with the LDA administration have also succeeded in capturing accused officials Mian Ashfaq and Muhammad Yaseen.

According to a fact-finding inquiry conducted by the Director (Administration) Khalid Pervaiz under the Punjab Employees Efficiency and Discipline Act-2006, Mian Ashfaq Ahmad, assistant director (computer) influenced Muhammad Usman, assistant director (computer) for issuance of certain documents, which depicts his malafide intentions in this scam. “Mr Muhammad Yasin, assistant director (identification) did the fake transfer proceedings of plot No. 223, Block-F/1, Johar Town. Furthermore, he deliberately ignored the fact that the date mentioned on the specimen transfer letter entertained by him was March 24, 2011 whereas the application for transfer letter issuance was submitted at the LDA’s One Window Cell on April 2, 2011. But without confirming this discrepancy from the client directorate of the estate management, he carried out the identification with malafide intensions,” the inquiry report reads.

It further said that Akhtar Mumtaz, junior clerk, Directorate of Estate Management, received the file after the identification and also received the letter from section/branch concerned despite not being the record keeper concerned. He also got the file misplaced and then abstained the fact-finding inquiry proceedings.

The inquiry officer, in his report, says that the fake transfer of plot 223 F/1, Johar Town was made by land mafia in connivance with some LDA officials. “This could not have been achieved without the involvement of one or more officials of the LDA directorates concerned.

However, the main culprits/stakeholders in the entire scam appears to be the persons who fraudulently maneuvered the file outside proper channel and then misplaced it once again,” he said. He said the fraudulent transfer proceedings in this case had been done in similar fashion and the same personnel seem to be involved in this as the ones who were involved in the fake transfers of plot No 196 & 181.

“It is a big scam and we have asked police to expand the scope of investigation by exposing more LDA officials as well as private persons involved in it,” DG Ahad Khan Cheema told Dawn.

He hoped that police would not only succeed in exposing more people behind this scam but also those involved in scams in other schemes, mainly Mustafa Town. He said an in-depth departmental probe into the fake transfer of plots in Musataf Town was already under way.

Source: http://dawn.com/2012/08/07/lda-expands-probe-into-fake-plot-transfers/