Pakistan News

Charge-sheet filed in ‘illegal’ land lease case

Charge-sheet filed in ‘illegal’ land  lease case

KARACHI: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) submitted on Saturday a charge-sheet in court against a sub-registrar of Clifton Town in a case pertaining to alleged illegal lease of over 1,600 acres of provincial government land to Defence Housing Authority.

The ACE booked Sikandar Ali Qureshi, the then sub-registrar of Clifton Town, and two deceased sub-registrars Iqbal Ahmed and Afsar Main for their alleged involvement in making illegal leases from 2003 to 2007 of over 1,600 acres of unclaimed/abandoned land of sea in favour of the DHA.

The investigating officer, Abdul Jabbar Khan, of the ACE through a prosecutor submitted the interim charge-sheet in the special provincial anti-corruption court.

The IO charge-sheeted Sikandar Qureshi and did not send up the other two nominated officials for trial stating that they had been passed away.

The charge-sheet said that during an inquiry it was established from Article 172 of the Constitution read with Section 50 of the Sindh Land Revenue Act, 1967, as well as the decisions of higher and superior judiciary that the Sindh government was the lawful owner of unclaimed/abandoned land of sea.

Regardless of the fact, it added that the sub-registrars had registered illegal lease deeds in respect of land in question in favour of the DHA without any documentation that caused huge financial lose to the exchequer.

However, public prosecutor Arif Sitai forwarded the interim charge-sheet to court with a scrutiny note which said that apparently the officials of the Karachi Port Trust and the Port Qasim Authority were involved in fraudulent and illegal lease of the Sindh government in the collusion with sub-registrars.

However, the note said that the IO had neither examined the officials of the KPT and the PQA nor made any effort to collect evidence/record against them.

Moreover, the prosecutor questioned the jurisdiction of the ACE and maintained that the KPT and the PQA were under the administrative control of the federal government, thus the Federal Investigation Agency or the National Accountability Bureau had exclusive jurisdiction to investigate the case.

The IO was also required to collect evidence about current status of the land whether any effort was made by the provincial government to cancel the illegal leases, he concluded.

The judge, Gulshan Ara Chandio, fixed the case for April 24 to decide the fate of the interim charge-sheet.

A case was registered under Sections 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5 (2) of the Prevention of Anti-Corruption Act-II 1947.

Published in Dawn, April 19th, 2015

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