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FAISALABAD: The anti-corruption establishment is finding it hard to make headway in an alleged state land fraud case against former senator Farooq Khan, a close aide of ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, as the respective patwari and tehsildar say the change of land title reports had been submitted to the Kamalia assistant commissioner [which somehow went missing from AC office].

However, the ACE officials say the document carrying the signature of the AC is fake as they quot her as saying that she had never signed such a document that allowed transfer of land in the name of Kamalia Sugar Mills Limited (KSML), once owned by Farooq Khan.

The officials say the original document [which was used to obtain Rs2.65 billion loan], is missing from the record and they could not send the copy for forensic analysis.

After a delay of about 20 months, the ACE had registered a case against three people - Farooq Khan, Mohammad Iqbal, naib Tehsildar of Kamalia, and Sheraz Gull of Arazi Record Centre, Kamalia, on charges of tampering with revenue record.

Land title change report unavailable at AC office

No arrest has been made in the case so far as the suspects are on interim bail.

The FIR (62/18) had been registered on Oct 8 following a report from the Toba Tek Singh deputy commissioner which he had dispatched to the Faislabad AC director on Jan 19, 2017.

The [DC] report reads that the AC Kamalia submitted a report stating that state land measuring 120 kanals and 12 marlas situated in Tukra 55, Kamalia, owned by the provincial government was sold through two notifications issued on June 28, 1979 and April 11, 1980. A conveyance deed was executed/registered on May 15, 1980 in favour of Punjab Industrial Development Board (PIDB).

At the time of computerisation of revenue record, the PIDB administrator was mentioned in Khewat No 47. During the data entry, the AC said Gull entered the name of Kamalia Sugar Mills (KSM) only and removed the name of administrator PIBD.

On Oct 21, 2015, the then tehsildar allowed correction of name from KSM to KSM Limited, but ironically no record of the order is available at the AC office. The said order was also incorporated in the revenue record vide mutation no 643 dated Oct 22, 2015.

The AC alleged that suspect Gull altered the entry in the revenue record to benefit private management of KSM with ulterior motives.

The mills management mortgaged the above-mentioned property with the National Bank of Pakistan, Corporate Branch, Koh-i-Noor City, Faisalabad, and managed to obtain a loan of Rs 2.6bn ‘fraudulently’ on April 19, 2016.

The ACE sources said Khan had termed registration of a case against him a political move only to teach him a lesson to have relations with the former PM.

The AC report said the Punjab government had sold land to PIBD in 1979-80 through a conveyance deed by receiving its payment wherein PIBD established KSML. Later, on following the mutation No-161, dated Dec 4, 1995 the land was transferred to the KSM/PIBD and subsequently the land lost the status of state land. The ownership of the land was also transferred to the KSL, it said.

Through open bidding in 1998, the PIDB had auctioned the KSM through Punjab Privatisation Board and it was also advertised in the newspaper. Being highest bidder, Ms Afrah Enterprises purchased 100 per cent shares of KSM along with all the assets including the plant, machinery, building and land in-question, it said.

Another ACE official quoting Khan said the correction of title in the revenue record was applied which was approved by the then AC Kamalia and correction was made accordingly.

The application submitted by the KSML and approval given by the AC were missing from the AC office which was not fault of anyone but the government officials, an officer of the ACE told Dawn.

The ACE official said how could the department hold Khan accountable when record was missing from the government office?

He said copies of the approval given by the AC were available with Khan and the respective patwari and the tehsildar were also endorsing and admitting that Khan had submitted the application for correction in the name of the title. Both- patwari and tehsildar - said they had made reports for the correction and forwarded the same to the AC for approval.

Another official said Khan had allegedly employed pressure tactics to get the issue hushed up as he had strong relations with the former rulers.

However, close aides of Khan dispelled the impression saying why would Khan use any sort of pressure when he had done nothing wrong.

They claimed that despite clear-cut evidence that Khan had not committed any illegality, the ACE officials were not ready to probe the issue on merit.

Loan obtained from the National Bank was also paid and no financial loss was inflicted on the national kitty, they added.

The official said investigation into the issue would be conducted on merit as the senior officials were also looking into the issue as it was a high profile case.

Published in Dawn, November 6th, 2018