MUZAFFARABAD: An anti-corruption court in Azad Jammu and Kashmir (AJK) on Monday announced its judgement in Mirpur’s infamous fakebainama(sale deed) scandal, awarding life imprisonment to the main accused for six times apart from other punishments to him and his accomplices.

The more than 200-page judgment in six cases was proclaimed by district judge Raja Faisal Majeed Khan, also the special anti-corruption judge, in Mirpur in the presence of a large number of people.

The main accused Ikramul Hassan, who was a stenographer in BS-16 in the court of senior civil judge (sub-registrar) Mirpur, had minted millions of rupees by issuing fictitious sale-deeds to the buyers of land in Mirpur district.

His accomplices included deed-writers Kamran Chohan and Akhtar Hussain, stamp vendor Arshad Mahmood and his two personal servants Mohammad Iqbal and Zaigham Abbas.

The fraud came to fore in early 2020 when at least two people complained to the then senior civil judge Mirpur Khawaja Habibur Rehman that despite having deposited the requisite funds and fees, they had not been issued sale-deeds by Mr Hassan.

In a cursory glance, the judge smelt the rat and referred the matter to the police where six cases of fraud were registered against Mr Hassan and his accomplices.

The cases were investigated by an anti-corruption department team led by the then deputy director investigation Amir Shehzad Nawabi before being challaned to the special anti-corruption court in late 2020 and early 2021.

During the course of hearing, statements of around 300 witnesses were recorded by the court.

In his decision, the judge handed down life imprisonment to the main accused in each of the six cases apart from seven years’ imprisonment for six times for commission of more than 20 other crimes.

The judge also ordered forfeiture of his entire movable and immovable properties, including 80 acres of land in Mirpur and Bhimber districts, two dumper trucks and a stone crushing plant in favour of the state.

He also slapped him with more than Rs5 million in fine,which was in addition to Rs5 millionrecovered from the accused at the time of his arrest. That amount would also be deposited in the official kitty, the judge held.

The punishment in three cases would start one after the other, the judge declared.

The other accused were also awarded punishments, including life imprisonment and fine.

All these punishments were announced under sections 409, 420, 465, 466, 467, 471, of Azad Penal Code and sections 5(2) and 5-C of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

Published in Dawn, November 15th, 2022

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