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LDA pulls a new scam in Johar Town

LAHORE – The Lahore Development Authority has managed to pull a new scam of 526 plots worth billion of rupees in Johar Town. To add a cherry on the cake, a major effort is underway to hide the big guns involved in the scandal, for which special instructions have been issued to LDA Directorate of Land Development (I).

The plot scandal surfaced after CM Secretariat received an application some days back that blew the lid of corruption in the LDA. The application laid bare the names of LDA highly-ranked official and his group that cherishes strong links with the land mafia. The application also carried the names of plot files that had been declared fake, a senior official in CM Secretariat told Pakistan Today.

In a ceremonial manner, he said the LDA Directorate of Land Development (I) had launched investigations to detect scope of irregularities in 526 plots besides others located in Johar Town. In the light of application inquiry is in motion to trace out anomalies in files of Ajodihiapur in Johar Town which included JT-AP/3187,JT-AP/3022,JT-AP/3186,JT-AP/3200,JT-AP/3208,JT-AP/3191,JT-AP/3095,JT-AP/3190,JT-AP/35,JT-AP/3092,JT-AP/3238,JT-AP/3225,JT-AP/3189,JT-AP/3228,JT-AP/3221,JT-AP/3052 and JT-AP/3182.

According to the application, a person who got cleared the file number JT-AP / 35 had died while those were arrested in tampering file number JT-NB 2/ 302 in Moza Niaz Baig had been released.

Sources in LDA revealed that authority had already reported loss of these files and had arrested 12 LDA officials.

Earlier Anti-Corruption Establishing (ACS) raided LDA office Johar Town last month and seized a number plots files found tampered and bogus. It also presaged arrests of top LDA officials allegedly involved in the scam. However, LDA Directorate of Land Development (I) Director Liaqat Ali Randhawa who was investigating the case was transferred, altering the direction of the investigation completely.

According to LDA official, ACS got information about a scam of tampering and misappropriating plot files and took in possession various files worth billions of rupees with registers in a raid on at LDA Johar Town office. He said LDA Director (Admin) Khalid Pervaiz sent a reference to ACE’s Lahore Region Director Zulfiqar Ghuman sometime ago, stating that the Junior Clerk Tayyab Shaheen and former private secretary to director land development Muhammad Hanif had stolen four registers and seven files of many plots located in Johar Town and Ajodhiapur worth billions of rupees.

The files were stolen from director land development’s office, he added. On this Zulfiqar Ghuman tasked Deputy Director Dr Zafar Iqbal and Inspector Atif Tarrar to arrest the accused nominated by the complainant. The officials rounded up accused and later raided LDA’s Johar Town office and recovered the files kept hidden in the record room.

Prior to this, LDA also suffered plot exemption scam in which LDA, mafia grabbed 10 plots (321, 267, 278, 82, 302, 352, 280, 77, 217, 341) worth Rs 250 million by exempting them from Moza Niaz Baig, block D/2, Johar Town Scheme in violation of rules laid down by LDA in its controlled area.

During the investigation under the instructions of the ADG (Housing), LDA DD (EM) found that the plots had been allocated against Khasra Nos.13594 (15K-15M), 13595 (IOK-15M), 13108 (5K-9M), 13601 (17M), 13511 (5K-I1M) measuring 38K-07M, whereas DLD-I had calculated area as 33K-07M. Moreover, the Khasra numbers indicated on Fard issued by Patwari and Khasra number indicated by LAG Branch are not identical.

Further, the LDA employees plot quota scandal made the headlines when massive irregularities were traced out in balloting of plots and some LDA officials were found involved in misusing their powers, setting aside balloting procedures and ignoring formal permission from the Board of Governors in February 2010. Former LDA DG had to cancel all plots allotment for damage control and constituted a committee to gain transparency.

The number of bogus files of plots in Johar Town housing scheme detected during the last few months have surged to 258, stroking apprehensions of more detections of such forged files in the same and other housing schemes falling under the jurisdiction of the LDA. Three years back LDA also detected 258 fake files of the plots in Johar Town.

The authority stopped all proceedings regarding exemption, allocation, possession, issuance of NOCs, transfer of plots, sanctioning of building plan, completion certificate and permission to mortgage of the files of plots declared bogus. Following surfacing of the said scam, chances of bogus files in other LDA schemes falling in Gulberg I, II and III, Garden Town, Muslim Town, Allama Iqbal Town, Samnabad, Sabzazar, Gujjar Pura, Taj Pura, Mohlanwal, Gulshan-i-Ravi and other localities have also gone up.

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