FAISALABAD, Sept 3 A US national of Pakistan origin, who is serving in the White House in Washington DC, has been able to get Rs55 million fraud cases against his father put on back burner allegedly by exerting pressure on the local police through the ministry as well as the department concerned.
The police are rather harassing the complainants and implicating them in what they claim “frivolous” cases. The efficiencies of the police in complying with the desires of the US national are also noteworthy.
About a dozen farmers of Chak 7-JB, Panjor, including five siblings — all aged between 57 and 70 — have given up hope of justice after they sold their agricultural lands to Ashraf Awan of Bole De Jhugi, who is father of White House employee Shahid Imran, against Rs55 million sale consideration but the money he owed against the purchases never realised and all the seven cheques drawn on Allied Bank's Sargodha Road branch dishonoured.
The police have registered a dacoity case against all the complainants and some others allegedly after succumbing to US national's pressure.
Mohammad Abid, a victim of Awan's alleged high-profile swindling, said that Awan's son had easy access to the corridors of power and that's why he was able to pressurise the police to dance to his tunes.
He said the police were reluctant to register what he called “genuine” fraud cases of the farmers who were possessing dishonoured cheques issued by Awan in July 2008. But, he said, the Kotwali police had implicated all the claimants in a dacoity case on Aug 8, 2009.
The police registered the dacoity case against 19 people, of them five are elderly brothers, apparently to pressurise them to abandoning their efforts to realise their millions from Awan.
On Aug 10, Imran got another fraud case registered against the majority of claimants with Sargodha Road police apparently to force them to withdraw potential cases against his father.
According to information gathered by Dawn, Awan had purchased huge chunks of land from different farmers in 2008. He purchased a piece of 15-kanal land worth Rs6.5 million from Abdul Rehman and issued him cheque No.1653372, purchased another chunk of land worth Rs7.7 million from Khadim Hussain against cheque No.1653373, worth Rs8 million from Abdullah through cheque No.1653374, Rs8 million from Kaleemullah and Rs1 million from Naseer through cheque No.1653379, Rs657,728 from Saeed through cheque No.1653377, Rs8 million from Tajamul Hussain through cheque No.1653376 and Rs25 million from Khalid and Hamid Younis against a cheque (whose number is not available yet) all drawn on Sargodha Road branch of the Allied Bank Limited and issued on July 31, 2008. However, all these cheques were dishonoured.
Khadim Husain, 70, Abdul Rehman, 67, Abdullah, 64, Kaleemullah, 61, and Tajamul Hussain, 57, are brothers and running from pillar to post to seek justice, but to no avail. They are visiting the police officials concerned with dishonoured cheques in their possession for the registration of the cases, but the police high-ups are 'ominously' indifferent to proceed against Awan.
However, on June 9, 2009, the Sargodha Road police lodged case No.555 under Section 489-F of the Pakistan Penal Code on the complaint of Abdul Rehman against Awan and his former business partner Rashid Minhas.
In the meantime, Awan had also disassociated and distanced himself from Minhas and did not bother to implicate him in a Rs4 million dacoity case to preserve his financial interests.
Awan has allegedly been released in case No.555 on bail and he is very much likely to be exonerated in due course while noose against Minhas is likely to be tightened.
Sources said that Imran was now influencing the police to implicate all the complainants against his father in the case registered with the Kotwali police under Sections 395, 337-AI, 337-FI, 148 and 149 of the Pakistan Penal Code on Aug 8. So much so, a lawyer, Asim Sheikh, who represented the complainants against Awan in the court of law, had also been booked in that case.
The police did not disclose the contents of the FIR or even the number of the FIR despite Dawn contacted them in this connection time and again. The accused in this case include Minhas, Saeed, Kaleemullah, Rehman, Qasim, Abdullah, Khadim Hussain, Tajammul, Naseer Ahmed, Abdul Razaaq, Shabbir, Khalid, his brother Prince, Nasir, Asim Sheikh and five others.
Imran allegedly complained to the police that the accused had subjected him to severe torture and snatched Rs 4 million from him.
Abid said that not even a single man of his village was present on the alleged crime scene where Imran's was purported thrashed and they were ready to swear on the Holy Quran to substantiate their averment.
Abid alleged that Regional Police Officer (RPO) Ahmed Raza Tahir was backing Imran and his father.
The RPO, however, did not attend his cell phone when Dawn contacted him repeatedly for his version of the story.
Sources said that some “power muscles” in the federal capital as well as in the provincial capital had phoned the local police to lend all sorts of help to the US national and his father.
Bushra Bibi, another victim of Awan, said that her husband Shabbir Ahmed was Awan's business partner and he was killed in an accident a couple of months ago along with Awan's wife but, she said, she was also running from pillar to post to seek justice.
She said that Ashraf, who was also a mentor of her husband, had got some properties of her children transferred in his name by exerting influence and pressure.
She said that now Imran was threatening her with dire consequences for not transferring the remaining properties to his fathers name.
"They have also implicated my brother-in-law, Saeed, who lives in Lahore and works in the agriculture department, in a false case only to pressurise me to succumb to their pressure," she added.
The supervisory police officer of Kotwali sector, DSP Asadur Rehman, said the police were bound to institute an FIR on a written complaint by any aggrieved person.
He said the police registered the robbery case keeping in view the contents of the complaint. However, he remained tight-lipped when asked as to whether the robbery incident did take place. But, he hastened to add that the investigation officer concerned would be in a better position to comment on the development.
Sargodha Road SHO Mian Zahid said that the police were not registering the cases of farmers because they possessed what he called “bogus” cheques.
He said that Awan had not issued any cheque to any farmer. He also said that he was not SHO at the time the case against Awan was registered — a reference to case No.555 under Section 489-F of the PPC registered on June 9.
Sargodha Road Investigation In-charge Shafqat Hussain said that Minhas and Awan were business partners and the impugned cheque in favour of Rehman was indeed issued by Minhas and not Awan. He said that owing to this lead, cases of other complainants were not being registered.