Counterfeit documents: Prisons IG asked to explain lapses

Advocate, accomplices used to forge bail orders

Rana Yasif March 15, 2016

LAHORE: District and Sessions Judge Nazir Ahmed Gajana on Monday directed the Prisons IG to furnish an explanation regarding the release of under-trial prisoners incarcerated at the district jail following the presentation of forged documents.

The judge, in the wake of an inquiry conducted by Additional District and Session Judge Nasir Javed Rana also directed the IG to conduct an inquiry against Judicial Wing officials who were earlier held partly responsible for the prisoners’ release. Gajana told The Express Tribune that this would not have been possible without the connivance of Judicial Wing officials. He said the IG had been directed to submit a report within 15 days. Gajana said strict action would be taken against those responsible for the fraud. He said pertinent authorities would also look into the inquiry’s recommendation regarding the cancellation of the prime suspect involved in the racket.

According to details, the inquiry had found that Advocate Muhammad Sibtain Ali Hanjra and his team would forge bail orders for his clients using counterfeit stamps and fake signatures of the judges concerned. It also held Hanjra’s clerk Abdul Waheed and some Judicial Wing officials guilty. The latter were found guilty of negligent discharge of their duties. The inquiry revealed that the gang had secured the release of eight suspects using counterfeit documents.

The inquiry said that Hanjra had also been nominated as a suspect in 17 car theft and robbery cases. He was detained and some of the snatched articles were recovered from him. The report said an investigation team had claimed that Hanjra had confessed to playing a role in one of the car lifting cases. He had told the police that he hired some men to pick up Advocate Taimoor Tahir Kharal’s car, the report said. Hunjra had said that he wanted to settle scores with him for being a part of a sting operation against him.

Advocate Kharal had initially raised the matter after learning that Hanjra had secured the release of two suspects involved in a robbery case using counterfeit documents. Kharal had been representing two other suspects in the case. In a complaint to Additional District and Sessions Judge Gulzar Ahmad Khalid, Kharal had sought action against him for using forged documents to secure the suspects’ release.

An FIR was subsequently registered with Islampura police. Hanjra’s clerk Waheed was then arrested in a sting operation. Hanjra had later obtained a pre-arrest bail in this regard.

Regarding district jail officials, the inquiry said they had been negligent. It also observed that some members of the gang were involved in preparing counterfeit court decrees and filing execution petitions. The inquiry recommended directions be issued to all executing courts to submit a list of execution petitions where the original record was not available. It said that judicial officers should be asked to peruse these petitions for irregularities.

The inquiry also suggested that the Anti-Corruption Establishment be approached to initiate criminal proceedings against public functionaries involved in the fraud. It said that the Punjab Bar Council should be approached to cancel Hanjra’s licence.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 16th, 2016.


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