LAHORE: An initial inquiry has unearthed bogus files of 100 residential plots in Johar Town as there is no record of them available with the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) that can prove authenticity of such cases.

The officers deputed to initially look into the matter have also decided to send the list of the plots’ files to a fact-finding committee constituted by the LDA administration for probing the matter, Dawn has learnt.

According to a letter, titled “Fact-Finding Inquiry Regarding Construction of Duplication Files of Johar Town,” written by director (IT), provision of record/papers (if any) has been sought from the LDA’s director for record management.

“It is stated that the competent authority initiated a fact-finding inquiry against the alleged irregularities, discrepancies and malpractices with respect to the properties falling under Johar Town scheme vide the letter of January 31. The undersigned, being member of the committee, has started working on scrutiny of the files mentioned in the inquiry file. The undersigned has collected the record from the on-window applications and succeeded to compile a list of plots and files to be probed further,” explains the letter of the director (IT).

It mentions that since the duplicate files are to be received by the director (record management) from the director (housing-VII), the files mentioned in the list must be received from the client directorate on a preferential basis in order to move forward on the fact-finding inquiry.

More such cases expected to surface in the coming days

The plots number mentioned in the list include 254, 260, 431, 905, 895, 321, 321, 82, 200, 312, 328, 352, 345, 348, 394, 842, 337-274, 332, 165-A, 333, 49, 340, 341, 345, 346, 394, 306-A, 200, 82, 82, 83, 84, 321, 274, 338, 280, 339, 327, 328, 400, 279-D, 395, 348, 370, 331, 375, 374-K, 374-J, 374-G, 662, 374-375, 41-A, 41-B, 41-C, 42, 723, 4-888, 888-842-4, 668, 842, 342, 403,406, 40, 91-J, 386, 386-415, 415, 326, 254-260, 306-A, 306-A, 40, 326, 327, 342, 406, 339 etc, 82, 83, 84, 396, 4, 888, 842, 842, 40, 306-A, 332-333, 375-etc and 4-842-888. These plots are located in Johar Town’s blocks, namely L, J-1, Q, N, F-1, G-III, H-II, F, D-II, R-II, , H-III, P, J-II and G.

“These all plots are actually the property of the LDA. The duplicate files of these plots were prepared fraudulently by the private people in connivance with the LDA officers/concerned in the past. On various plots, the people have built even structures (houses etc),” an official privy to the development told Dawn.

“The measurement of the plots ranges from five marlas to one kanal. Some of them are located at the prime locations and their land-use status can be changed into commercial under the relevant rules and regulations,” the official, who did not want to be named, claimed.

He revealed that the LDA was the authority that had not an updated record of its properties not only in Johar town but also in other schemes it developed since its inception in 1975. The fraudsters as well as the corrupt LDA officials, according to him, allegedly used the file numbers that had already been declared fake and published in the print media around 13 years back.

“In general, the duplicate files are always made and issued by the LDA in the light of record related to the original files available with it. But if the duplicate files are made without any record available with LDA, it means they are bogus. In this case, we have so far found no record. But we have asked the authorities concerned to provide any record (if they have) that can prove these duplicate files as genuine,” the official gave a strange explanation.

He claimed that “once the fact-finding team finally declares these files as completely bogus, the LDA would have no option to retrieve these plots worth billions”.

To a question, the official said the LDA owned 2,000 plots in Johar Town alone. “But it has not an updated record as a number of plots are not mentioned in the record. I think this all has been done intentionally to mint huge money,” he maintained.

“As initially bogus files of around 100 plots have been discovered but we are hoping to find more such cases in the days to come,” he added.

It merits mention that following various internal reports related to duplicate files and forged documents of various plots in Johar Town allegedly prepared by the private people in connivance with the officials concerned, the LDA had, last month, constituted a five-member fact-finding committee to launch a thorough probe into such issues and complete the inquiry within 60 days.

REMOVED: The management of the Lahore Waste Management Company dismissed the service of its 58 in-source workers/employees for being absent from duty for a long time.

The company, according to a spokesman, also surrendered service of 41 employees to the Metropolitan Corporation Lahore, their parent department for being negligent from the duty.

Published in Dawn, March 5th, 2023

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