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Wednesday June 19, 2024

LDA official summoned over graft

By Ali Raza
May 24, 2023

LAHORE:Town Planning wing of Lahore Development Authority (LDA) remained under the radar of Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), which summoned another Director and his team for alleged involvement in illegal constructions.

LDA sources said the ACE called former Director of TP wing Zone 7 Ali Abbas, presently working as Director Zone 1, Deputy Director Umar Majeed, presently working in CMP wing and Assistant Director Ghafran on May 19, 2023 but none of the officers appeared before the ACE. ACE launched the inquiry against the said officers on the complaint of one Malik Akbar Ali, resident of Township, filed on December 7, 2022 and its CC number in the ACE record was 3400-22 dated December 13, 2022. The complainant, in his complaint alleged that LDA’s Town Planning wing has turned into a Sicilian mafia and the top officers were repeatedly told about corruption but no action was taken against any official/officer. He further alleged that the corrupt assistant directors and deputy directors were promoted and the clear proof of this fact was that Ali Abbas was promoted to the post of Director after identification of corruption allegations against him.

The complainant told the ACE that a private industrial area was established on Hadyara Drain Road, which was the control area of LDA and originally was an agricultural land measuring 25 to 30 murabbas (one murabba is equal to 25 acres). He claimed that no land conversion fee as well as map approval fee, which was around Rs2 to 3 billion, was deposited in the national exchequer and a huge financial loss was caused to the LDA.

The applicant said a large number of illegal plazas, godowns, workshops, commercial markets and other buildings were also established in this area with the alleged connivance of LDA officers. He asked the ACE to inquire into the matter and take necessary action against Director TP Zone 1 Ali Abbas, Deputy Director Umer Majeed and Assistant Director and if they were found guilty, they should be sacked from their jobs besides recovery of the loss to the national exchequer.

LDA sources claimed that both the Zone 7 and Zone 1 were full of illegal commercialisation/buildings and even today one can found many under-construction illegal buildings in both the zones. They further said that ACE has already asked for various data relating to different zones from LDA’s Chief Town Planner (CTP).

Sources said that recently a major reshuffle was made in TP wing but it was reversed the very next day. This showed how well connected and powerful these officers were, sources said. Deputy Director ACE Hassan Raza confirmed that the LDA officers didn’t appear on the said date and a new notice was served to them. He said the ACE has adopted a zero tolerance policy towards corruption and was taking action against corrupt government officers indiscriminately.

The scribe has also tried to contact Director TP Zone 1 Ali Abbas but he didn’t attend the call. A text message was also sent to him to take his official version over the allegations but he didn’t reply till filing of this report.

While talking with The News, LDA's spokesperson said that LDA DG Muhammad Ali Randhawa has already passed clear instructions that all the queries and inquiries of Anti-Corruption should be handled on merit and compliance should be assured in the given time limit.