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‘Real’ estate-development: Caught buying real land from fake people

RAWALPINDI: Two senior officials of a private housing society were arrested on Monday for allegedly acquiring land by using forged documents and fictitious identities of sellers, sources on authority told The Express Tribune. The Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) officials arrested Colonel (retd) Saeed Akhtar, the general manager of Bahria Town and Muhammad Iqbal, the site supervisor for the society in Rawat, after they came to the ACE office to have their statements recorded in the case, which was registered in 2009, sources close to the investigations told The Express Tribune.

On the other hand, the chief executive of the housing society, Malik Riaz, in his statement to the ACE director, claimed that his society was the victim and not the transgressor in the case.

The investigators have already arrested revenue officers Adnan Bashir Kiani and Muhammad Rizwan, along with Ashfaq and Tanveer, the two alleged front men of the housing society, for transferring land using forged documents and fake identities.

The FIR was registered on November 24, 2009 against the officials for the preparation of fake identity cards and ownership papers with the help of revenue officials and the subsequent sale of 1,401 kanals in the Azizwal village revenue estate, Malikpur on Kallar Syedan Road in Rawat.

The housing society purchased the land for Rs80.5 million and transferred it in the name of Iqbal (site supervisor), Bahria Town Chief Executive Malik Riaz and his son, Ali Riaz.

The case was registered after the villagers lodged complaints with the ACE against the revenue officials for depriving them of their lands. Subsequently, the mutation of the land was cancelled by the district officer revenue and investigations were initiated.

When asked why no action has been taken against the realtor or his son, ACE officials said that Malik Riaz was allowed to go after he stated before the investigation officer that his firm was a victim in the case and not a beneficiary.

The real estate tycoon reportedly stated that the housing society purchased the land and paid the money, but could not obtain possession of the land after the fraud was unearthed. “We got a criminal case registered with the Rawat police against those who acted as middlemen in the deal,” he said.

ACE Rawalpindi Division Director Muhammad Ali Ranjha confirmed the arrests and said further investigations were underway.

The director also confirmed that Malik Riaz had denied the allegations of any malafide nature on the part of Bahria Town in the deal.

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