RAWALPINDI: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has started investigating Punjab Forest Department’s ‘missing’ land in Islamabad, which is included in the district land revenue record but not in the Forest Department’s record for the last 18 years.

During investigations into a case pertaining to a private housing society along Mouza Maloot, ACE found the old record of the Punjab Forest Department. The old record contains details of land which is not included in the current record when the department has not sold or leased the land in question.

A senior ACE official told Dawn that the department has sought the land record from Islamabad and Rawalpindi and found that the Punjab Forest Department owns land measuring 133 acres in Islamabad.

No mention of the 133 acres in forest department’s records the last 18 years even though it was not sold or leased

“The revenue record clearly shows that the forest department owned the land since before Islamabad was established and was in its possession till 2000. However, some portions of the land were included in Bahria Enclave in recent years,” he said.

The official added that his department then sought a report from the Punjab Forest Department which said it had no record of the land for the last 18 years.

He said the forest department had told ACE that the land was included in its record till 2000 and that the current administration did not know what happened to documents for the land in question after that.

The revenue department’s record from 1960 to 2000, available with ACE, shows the land was owned by the Punjab Forest Department.

ACE then started an investigation into the matter after getting approval from its director general in Lahore, he said.

Adnan Mazhar was appointed investigation officer. The team will get the revenue record from Islamabad and Rawalpindi as well as from the forest department to ascertain how the record was tampered with, if at all.

“Bahria Enclave will be asked to provide details of the land next week which will be compared to the revenue record,” he said.

The official added that revenue officials and those of the forest department will be questioned and that ACE has sought details of the officials working in both departments from 2000 onwards.

ACE Regional Director Arif Raheem told Dawn the investigation into the matter was in the initial phases and that some of the 133 acres of land was now included in Bahria Enclave.

He said the department is looking into whether the state land was encroached on or was leased without policy.

He said ACE is also probing into embezzlements in development works worth billions of rupees in the division from Jhelum to Attock. He added that there were many complaints about revenue officials which are being investigated.

Published in Dawn, December 24th, 2018