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Criminal gangs providing forged surety documents have resurfaced around the premises of the District and Sessions Courts.

In the last one month alone, at least four cases were highlighted where forged documents were submitted for granting of bails.

“On the orders of the courts, cases have been registered against the accused with the Margalla police station,” Malik Shahid, the reader to a civil judge, told Dawn.

These gangs had been clamped down back in 2012 when their networks started to penetrate into the staff offices of the courts. The most shocking aspect was the collusion of officials of the police and lower courts.

The practice came to light during a hearing of a robbery case in a civil court when the judge found an accused absent. On inquiry, he was told that the accused was out of Adiala Jail on bail.

Mr Shahid admitted that touts can again be found roaming around the lower courts with forged stamps and documents of local patwaris, tehsildars and CDA officials.

“Our investigations have shown that touts are submitting forged papers of properties located in capital’s rural and urban areas as surety bonds. They charge 40 per cent to 50 per cent of the total value of the surety bonds from the accused,” he said.

Another trend has also been observed: all the accused who had submitted the bogus documents were arrested in Islamabad but their hometowns were elsewhere.

“The Islamabad High Court has been approached to eliminate the practice of using touts. The IHC has assured us that they will share a software with the district and sessions courts through which the status of the person who arrange surety bond will be cross-checked against their CNIC,” said Mr Shahid.

The reader is very much confident that the software would catch those who frequently arrange surety bonds for the accused.

Around a month back, a senior police officer said the capital police had launched an operation against court absconders and in this regard the city courts were approached to get details of people who had submitted bonds for the bail of the accused.

According to the police record, there are over 3,000 absconders in connection with murder, murder attempt, robbery, burglary and theft cases.

“The police followed the details of surety bonds of the absconders of 1,400 accused available in the court but were surprised that the lower judiciary had only details of 160 absconders while the rest of the bonds were missing from the court’s record,” he added.

The officer said it was suspected that the people who submitted the surety bonds for the release of the accused, in connivance with the court staff, got back the paper of surety bonds to avoid their identification. As a result, neither the accused are traceable nor the people who gave the surety for their release.

Cases where documents were found to be forged

January 3 A civil judge granted bail to an accused in a case about a dishonoured cheque. The accused had been arrested in 2012 after his cheque worth Rs205,000 given to the landlord of his house in PWD bounced.

In response of the bail order, three individuals submitted papers of property worth Rs50,000 as surety bonds. When the papers were sent to the local patwari for verification, they turned out to be forged and a case was registered over the issue on January 17.

January 22 An accused sold a plot on forged documents and payment slips, which led to the registration of a case against him and his arrest. The accused succeeded in getting bail on submission of land documents to the lower court which upon verification turned out to be forged.

January 23 The documents of property submitted for the release of an accused on April 1, 2012, were found to be forged. However, the accused had already gotten bail.

January 23 A robber was granted release on the basis of land documents submitted as surety bonds on December 12, 2012. Even though he had been released by the time his documents were verified, he was rearrested by the CIA in connection with another robbery case.