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April 24, 2019

Encroachment on state land: Corruption case against 54 officials, others recommended

Top Story

April 24, 2019

KARACHI: Sindh Anti-corruption department has recommended corruption case against 54 persons -- officers of provincial Jail, Irrigation and Revenue departments and some private persons -- for encroaching and then forging of fake property documents of Sindh government property of millions of rupees in Sukkur.

According to the official documentary evidences available with The News, a case was assigned to Sindh Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Karachi, Assistant Director Masroor Jatoi for re-investigation as the ACE received complaints about the unmerited earlier inquiry which has declared all accused persons as innocent by Investigation Officer (IO) Sub-Inspector Kaleemullah Mahesar of ACE Sukkur; IO Mahesar last year had recommended to disposed of the case under Section 173 as cancelled class.

ACE sources alleged that Mahesar is also occupying a major chunk of the said property (dispensary and some houses of the Sindh irrigation department) that was why he recommended closure of the case.

Earlier, an investigation was initiated and sent to Anti-Corruption department on the report of Superintendent Central Prison Sukkur followed by a ‘departmental inquiry’ conducted by a committee constituted by then DIG Prisons Pir Shabeer Jan Sarhandi and comprising of Prisons department’s SSP Qamar Raza Zaidi, SSP Shahid Hussain Chajro, SSP Aijaz Haider, SP Syed Anwar, SP Munawar Shah and Superintendent Muhammad Hassan Sehto in 2015.

According to the official inquiry report some six bungalows of A-1 type -- serial number 156 to 180 Deh Abadi Taluka Rohri Sukkur Barrage near Khairpur feeder west canal was the property of Central Jail Sukkur. The premises of said bungalows and other adjacent land were illegally occupied by officials of Jail and Irrigation departments.

After occupying the property, the encroachers managed forged property documents (Sanads) from Mukhtiarkar Gothabad, Sukkur, showing it as part of village Sharafabad. Official report further suggested that from the facts and official documentary evidence, record provided by Irrigation department, site sketches as well as forensic expert’s opinion, it has been proved that prior to year 2012 all the six bungalows were allotted to the accused persons -- employees of Jail Department.

Official report stated that some 13 officials of Jail Department in connivance with each other stole the office file of Jail regarding purchase and allotment of the bungalows and land. Thereafter, they in connivance of Revenue Department officials (Deputy Commissioner Office Sukkur and Mukhtiarkar Gothabad Scheme Sukkur got fake and fabricated property documents for the bungalows and adjoining areas including a dispensary, motor garage and other offices of Sindh Irrigation Department; all property documents were portrayed as singed by Mukhtiarkar Abdul Aziz Soomro who had died in 1995.

It is pertinent to mention here that despite the official inquiry report which has declared the 13 officials as responsible for encroaching upon the property, no departmental action had been taken against them by Jail authorities, while only four low grade employees of the Department were dismissed from service.

Inspector General Sindh Prison Muzafar Aalam Siddiqi said that it was not correct that no action had been taken against the encroachers, the department had conducted an inquiry and many officials were dismissed while others had approached court.

A constitutional petition, also filed by the accused persons showed them innocent, added IG Siddiqi. Siddiqi concluded that all the documentary evidence was available against accused persons and the department was waiting for the final action of the ACE. After that action would be taken against the remaining encroachers.

Officer of the ACE, Sukkur, Syed Saleem Abbas Shah, while confirming the move, informed The News that matter has been received for further proceedings against the accused persons.

Shah said that the said colony of Jail and Irrigation department was constructed in 1929 and all houses and bungalows were allotted to Jail and Irrigation departments.

Shah concluded that earlier IO Kaleem Mahesar had recommended for closing of the case; however, he refuted regarding any encroachment made by the former IO upon the portion of the property.

This reporter approached former IO Mahesar for his point of view called many times on his official phone and then his cell number, sent him detailed text message and waited for two days but till the filling of the case Mahesar avoided responding.

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