LAHORE, Aug 12: The City District Government of Lahore recovered eight-kanal precious state land near Thokar Niaz Beg that was sold twice through fake documents by a man through a patwari of the district revenue department, Dawn learnt on Monday.
According to a CDGL official, a team led by District Coordination Officer Nasim Sadiq had retrieved the state land, situated adjacent to Judicial Colony, from land grabbers on Sunday and handed it over to the Parks and Horticulture Authority (PHA) for converting it into a children park.
He claimed Manshaullah of Pattoki, Kasur district, first possessed the land unlawfully about 35 years ago and then retained the possession for over 10 years in connivance with revenue officials. Later, he surprisingly became the owner of the land in connivance with patwari Ghulam Dastgir of Thokar Niaz Beg revenue/patwar circle.
“Patwari Dastgir first received a bribe of Rs2 million from Mansha and then tampered with the revenue/land record. He then prepared a fake Fard Jamabandi (land ownership certificate) showing Mansha as the land owner. He also got it verified by his immediate seniors (qanungo, sub-registrar etc) by submitting it to them during routine affairs,” the CDGL official, who preferred anonymity, told Dawn.
He said as soon as accused Mansha received the ownership certificate, he set up plant nurseries and constructed two rooms in order to show physical possession of the property. After some years, Mansha sold the land to Muhammad Anwar for Rs1.25 billion through a sale agreement written on stamp papers.
“According to the agreement, Anwar gave Rs30 million to Mansha as advance money, pledging to pay the rest in installments. Later, Anwar too sold this land to another man for Rs1.5 billion, receiving Rs60 million as advance money. The rest of the amount had to be paid to him in installments as per the sale agreement,” the official explained.
He said the status/background of the land was learnt by the respective deputy collector after someone wrote a letter to the DCO. The DCO asked the collector to launch a thorough probe into the scandal. After going through the record and recording evidence, the collector found Dastgir and Mansha responsible for changing title of the land.
“During inquiry, it was proved how Mansha had become owner of the land by bribing a patwari. It was also proved Mansha sold the land to Anwar. And then Anwar sold it to someone else,” the official added.
He said after reaching facts, the collector submitted his report to the DCO who finally decided to retrieve the land.
“A team reached the spot and demolished the nurseries and rooms established there. Since the people working in the nurseries fled from the scene, the team didn’t face any resistance. After taking possession of the land, the team handed it over to the PHA for converting it into a park for children. Police were also asked to protect the state property,” the official added.
He said the collector had been directed by the district administration to get a criminal case registered against the accused persons besides initiating departmental proceedings against the accused patwari. The collector also served a show-cause notice on Dastgir, the official said.
Talking to Dawn on Monday, DCO Nasim Sadiq said charges against the accused had been proved and the CDGL had constituted a team to arrest all mafia members directly or indirectly involved in the scandal.
“The team is being sent to Pattoki to arrest Mansha first. And then we will arrest rest of the accused, including Dastgir. And finally we will get a case registered against all of them,” Sadiq added.
He said the PHA had started work to convert the land into a park. He said he would also take action against senior officials of the district Revenue Department if found involved in the scandal. He appealed to the masses to inform him if they had any information on state or private land occupied by land grabbers in the city.
“If people’s information proves correct, they will witness severe action from the CDGL,” he added.