Friday October 15, 2021

State land worth Rs20 bn ‘transferred’ in Sindh through fake entries

September 21, 2021
State land worth Rs20 bn ‘transferred’ in Sindh through fake entries

ISLAMABAD: Another case of fake entries of state land worth Rs20 billion has surfaced in Sindh but despite the report of the concerned assistant commissioner, deputy commissioner and commissioner, the matter is pending before the Senior Member Board of Revenue since 2019, allegedly to favour the influential private party involved.

Informed sources say that it is not only the provincial government but the federal government too that has been approached to push the matter under the rug. The concerned officials who dug out the matter and reported it to the government have been pressured and harassed by different quarters. NAB Sindh, it is said, has even been approached to probe the concerned officers instead of protecting and securing the government land.

Against the fake entries, a private party is claiming 2,082 acres of government land. These fake entries, it is said, were made several years ago and the land in question has been sold to different parties to make it secure.

An official in the Sindh Board of Revenue on condition of not being named said that the matter is taking time because it’s a judicial process and because of changes made to the Revenue Department.

On Monday, Transparency International Pakistan (TIP) also approached the Sindh chief secretary with all the relevant records and sought his intervention to retrieve the government land worth Rs20 billion from the alleged illegal occupants.

The TIP in its letter also named the private party which is allegedly involved and is in possession of the land acquired through fake entries. The TIP said and The News confirmed that it was Capt. (Retd) Farid-ud-Din Mustafa, Deputy Commissioner Jamshoro, who had discovered the alleged fraud and reported the matter in 2019.

The report shared with the commissioner was prepared following detailed scrutiny of the original record of right by the mukhtiarkar, Taluka Thana Bula Khan, District Jamshoro dated February 21, 2019, duly endorsed by the assistant commissioner Thana Bula Khan. The inquiry determined that all entries in the Record of Right Deh Uthplan and Deh Babar Bund in the name of the private party are fake/ bogus/ tampered with, and that these bogus entries of 2,082 acres must be cancelled to protect government/ state land.

The report, the TIP letter to the CS said, alleged that it appears that the private party is involved in fraud by creating fake/ tampered khatas probably in 2008, verified also from the microfilm record. The report explained that there are two formats of forgery adopted. Either the original entry does not exist, and a fake entry has been inserted, or the original area is only a few acres, and the area has been increased by 400 to 500 times to encroach upon state land.

Upon receiving the report from the DC, the TIP said, the commissioner Hyderabad has written letters in 2019 to the secretary to the Government of Sindh, Senior Member Board of Revenue to cancel the alleged bogus entries of 2,082 acres, under section 3 of the Cancellation of Bogus Entries (in the record-of-rights) of Government Land Act, 2009.

“Notwithstanding anything contained in any law for the time being in force or any agreement or judgment or order of a court, but subject to other provisions of this Act, the Secretary to Government of Sindh, Revenue Department specifically authorised by the Chief Minister Sindh in this behalf, if satisfied, that an entry in the record of rights, made on or after 1st January, 1985, is bogus, may without notice, cancel such entry and on such cancellation, the land shall stand reverted to the Government,” the commissioner reminded the Sindh Revenue Department.

However, the Senior Member Board of Revenue did not cancel the bogus entries of 2,082 acres, which, according to the TIP, is a mandatory requirement after the entries of 2,082 acres in the Record of Rights have been reported by the mukhtiarkar, Taluka Thana Bula Khan, District Jamshoro and the Assistant Commissioner Thana Bula Khan to be bogus.

It is said that on May 27, 2019, the Sindh chief minister directed Capt. (Retd) Farid-ud-Din Mustafa, Deputy Commissioner Jamshoro, to submit the report regarding the claim by the private party of 2,082 acres in Taluka Thana Bula Khan.

On the same day, the report prepared on the detailed scrutiny of the original record of right by the mukhtiarkar, Taluka Thana Bula Khan, District Jamshoro dated February 21, 2019, was submitted to the principal secretary to chief minister, Sindh. But still the alleged bogus entries of 2,082 acres have not been cancelled by the Senior Member Board of Revenue despite a lapse of more than 28 months.

According to the TIP calculations, the market value of this prized piece of land, located in the vicinity of Lucky Cement, an area being developed by private builders, is over Rs10 million per acres, i.e., Rs20.3 billion.

The TIP asked the Sindh chief secretary to investigate the allegations considering the original documents, and if the report of fake entries of mukhtiarkar, Taluka Thana Bula Khan, District Jamshoro dated February 21, 2019, duly endorsed by the assistant commissioner Thana Bula Khan, determining that 2,082 acres of land allegedly claimed by the private party is found correct, immediate action may be taken to cancel the bogus entries. The TIP also demanded initiation of action against all those who are responsible for this illegal act including the officials and the beneficiaries.

Action is also sought against those officers who are responsible for delaying the cancellation of the bogus entries of 2,082 acre for more than 28 months.