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May 16, 2016

Imran bought agri land in 2009, how its price increased by 133 percent


May 16, 2016

Islamabad: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan declared before revenue authorities to have purchased over 30 acres of agricultural land for mere Rs1.8 million but showed its cost Rs 4.2 million before the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP), allegedly making it a serious case of misdeclaration and tax evasion.

The purchased price as declared by the PTI Chief of this thirty acres land was shown Rs 1.8m in the revenue department’s ‘intiqal document’ registered in 2009. He, however, reflected its price 133% higher- Rs 4.2m- in his assets’ declaration submitted with the ECP last month.

According to revenue authorities the cost of price as declared before the revenue department by Imran Khan was greatly undervalued as is the usual practice to evade taxes. He bought 243 Kanals and 16 Marlas land, whose registered value (Rs1.8 million) is said to be over 650% less than the market value (Rs12.1 million) of land located in Mauza Dhingana, Mankera, Bhakkar. The actual price of the land at the time of the purchase was even 133% higher than the value declared with revenue authorities.

The News wrote thrice to PTI Chairman’s Spokesman Naeemul Haque on this issue of “alleged tax evasion and misdeclaration” but instead of giving straight answer he kept on playing with the words and shared irrelevant documents.

Initially, the PTI when questioned about the difference between the registered value of the land and its declared cost with the ECP, the Spokesman came with up a revenue document showing Rs4.2 million as value of the said land in 2010 and not its purchasing cost.

To remove all ambiguities, The News later shared with the Spokesman the registration document (Intiqal) showing cost as Rs1.8 million. In response, he said, document is not readable and there may be more ‘intiqal’ of this land.

However, the concerned revenue official Malik Gulsher, who had registered “Intiqal” of the land in Mauza Dhingana, confirmed to The News, “Yes, I finalised sale and purchase process of this land. Imran Khan bought 243 Kanals and 16 Marlas at the cost of Rs1.8 million in November 2009.”

The minimum market value of this land at the time of deal in that area stood at estimated Rs400, 000 per acre, he recalled. So, the total cost of land in question should be at least Rs12.1 million, Malik Gulsher explained.

Purchasing cost of this land was Rs4.2 million while its current value is Rs8 million, Imran Khan mentioned in his assets’ declaration submitted with the ECP.

Imran Khan became owner of this land under “Intiqal No: 7, 314” on November 28, 2009, confirmed a copy of the documented titled: ‘Confirmation of Agri Tax Registration No 2009 to Present.’

It is a common practice that people evade taxes by showing less value of their land while getting their holdings registered with Land and Revenue Department in this area, observed a concerned land official, Muhammad Nawaz in Mankera, Bhakkar. If purchasing cost, under existing laws in Punjab, crossed three million rupees (Rs3 million) at time of land registration, ratio of ‘land-purchase-fee’, jumps much higher, he claimed. “That is why Imran Khan might have shown smaller amount in official document,” observed Nawaz.

Abdullah Yusuf, Ex FBR Chairman, observed that it seems to be a case, like thousands others where people play to evade property/agri/income taxes.  “It covers one’s black money,” Yusuf opined.

Imran Khan purchased this land, which is located three kilometers away from Jhang district in Punjab, from around a dozen collective owners. Then Khan started paying agri taxes amounting to Rs6, 419 on this piece of land in 2009-10.

The registration document (intiqal)  copy reads: “Imran Khan S/o Ikramullah Khan Niazi purchased 243 kanals and 16 marlas (30.3 acres) agriculture land on November 10, 2009 from Saeed Akhtar Khan, Muhammad Aslam Khan, Muhammad Afzal Khan, Manzoor Ahmad Khan, Muhammad Tariq Khan, Begum Rasheeda, Begum Khalida, Saeeda Begum, Noor Muhammad Khan, Mansoor Ahmed Khan, Fatima Bibi, Sahib Dano (Widow), Amir Hamza, Amir Sail Khan, Humaira Bibi, Saadia Bibi, Uzma Bibi, Naseem Gul, Shahida Bibi, Naila Bibi, Naghma Bibi, Nasrullah Khan Pathan, Farooq Ahmad Khan and others in Mauza Dhingana, Tehsil Mankera, District Bhakkar at the cost of Rs1,800,000 (Rs1.8 million).”

Senior lawyer Salman Akram Raja terms it “a minor case,” where both parties (buyer and sellers) might be compromising over an actual less price of this land. Difference in two statements—I) Khan got registered the land in question with revenue department and then submitted its details with the ECP—could, however, come under question, he observed. “It is, however, difficult to establish [a case of tax evasion or an act of misdeclaration] in eyes of law,” he said.

Ishtiaque Ahmed Khan, former Secretary ECP, observed it seems to be an honest mistake—which finally led it towards misdeclaration. For sure it relates to Section 78 of The Representation of People Act 1976 Representative, he observed. He, however, termed it “a tricky matter—we must know in which circumstances Imran Khan declared his assets on ‘declaration form’ needs to be amended as there are many technical flaws in it.”

Section 78 of The Representation of People Act 1976 clearly mentioned that if a person involved in corrupt practices—if he makes or publish a false statement or submit false or incorrect declaration in any particular material (education qualification, assets and liabilities, party affiliation), he/she should be punished which might lead to disqualification.

In a ten-day marathon communication with PTI on this issue, The News received a trail of answers from Naeemul Haque through Yousaf Islam Associates which categorically contradicted one another.

Initially, PTI ‘s response reads: “The document available with value of Rs1, 800,000 seems to be strange as record available as attached clearly shows value of Rs4, 008,901 against declared value of Rs4, 200,000 (rest is cvt and stamp duty).

The News, again, sent an original copy of land registration document (intiqal) to the PTI Spokesperson who responded as saying any further correspondence will be entertained only, if substantiated through proofs.

“The copy of ‘intiqal’ you sent [to PTI] is illegible, therefore no any inference can be drawn. Some important particulars of ‘intiqal’ are missing or not readable. This is one ‘intiqal’ and there may be more than one ‘intiqal’ for the land.”

Responding to another question regarding tax evasion and misdeclaration, he said: “Your contention of concealment proves to be wrong as concealment may be: I) Property is not disclosed entirely to avoid disclosing income against which property is purchased. 2) Property is under declared, concealing any income against which property is purchased to evade tax or to avoid disclosing source of income. Whereas, your contention is that property is declared higher than the value in ‘intiqal’, for which there is no reason, and it cannot be called concealment as it is not undervalued. Other than ‘intiqal’, the property value may be appreciated for many reasons e.g. leveling, any development, irrigation, any other incidental expenses or any further payments to land owners. This is quite surprising that you have drawn inference on illegible copy of ‘intiqal’, whereas you failed to read correctly a clear and legible copy of ‘jamabandi/fard’ of the total land situated in this Mauza. It is very clearly written in figures as well as in words that this ‘jamabandi’ is for total land of 411 Kanal and 16 Marlas in the name of Mr. Imran Khan in that Mauza (other land is already disclosed in his statement of assets).”

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