LAHORE – Everything seems in place for protecting Lahore Development Authority (LDA) officials involved in a mega forgery scam regarding stamp papers in the LDA Avenue-I Housing Scheme, Pakistan Today has learnt. The scam surfaced when Ishtiaq Chaudhry was serving as estate management director on deputation in LDA from 2009 to 2010. A LDA official told Pakistan Today that a number of property dealers, in connivance with LDA officials, issued fake stamp papers worth Rs 20,000 and 40,000 and incurred losses worth millions of rupees to the national exchequer.

He said that after the scam created uproar, LDA announced to take action against the accused and directed plot owners to submit genuine stamp papers otherwise their transaction would be cancelled. “Although, helpless plot owners have started to legalise their property transactions but the LDA is flexing its muscles to save its dear ones,” the official added. According to rules, two percent stamp duty and official fees are submitted to the LDA to transfer plots in the LDA Avenue-I Housing Scheme located near Raiwind.

According to sources, fake stamp papers worth Rs 2 million were submitted to the LDA during the last one and a half year. The scam was revealed after treasury branch of the City District Government Lahore (CDGL) submitted its report to higher authorities and LDA stating that around 120 stamp papers, submitted in the LDA Avenue-I Housing Scheme, were fake. A CDGL official told Pakistan Today that the treasury branch prepared the report from July 1, 2009 to June 2010 and said that it had not issued stamp papers used for transferring of plots in the scheme.

He said that this was just a trailer of a big forgery scam, which would be unfolded in the coming days. After receiving the report, LDA decided to scrutinise all stamp papers used in property transaction in its own housing scheme to assess size of the scam. But the checking process came to a complete halt after it was revealed that some LDA top guns were behind the forgery fraud.