A district emergency officer (DEO) Faisalabad and a Station House Officer (SHO) of Sadar area among others have been booked by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) for extorting money over Rs15 million by setting up an illegal cattle market at the government-owned land.
The state land measuring over 19 acres was given to the Home Department for the establishment of Rescue 1122 lines. The Punjab Board of Revenue had clarified that the ownership shall remain in the name of the provincial government and the land would not be used for any purpose other than specified at the time of handing over, an FIR registered by ACE read.
The land will automatically revert to the Colonies Department when it is no longer required for the purpose, the statement further read.
Sources said DEO Ihtasham Wahla and SHO Ayub Sahi along with a few employees and private contractors set up an illegal cattle market at Niamuana.
ACE sources said the suspects minted money through different means such as renting canopies, food, water, parking, and entry and exit fee from the visitors.
The FIR revealed that a canopy measuring 45x45 was leased out for Rs200,000-250,000 for rent while a tent was available for Rs50,000-Rs70,000.
The FIR further revealed Rs15 million were extorted from the cattle farmers who arrived Faisalabad from different cities”, it further read.
The matter came forth when two private persons were arrested on a complaint of GM (Operations) Cattle market with the assistance of local police. The arrested persons stated before Chowki Incharge that Rescue 1122 has leased out the land to a contractor Kashif Khan who is said to be the partner of DEO and SHO.
When Faisalabad Assistant Commissioner contacted District Emergency Officer Ihtasham Wahla, he informed him that he had not leased out any land reserved for Rescue 1122 lines. When the AC asked him to give him a written statement, he started making different excuses.
When he was insisted to do so, he told AC that Rescue 1122 had been declared an independent department therefore he should seek any clarification from him through the head of his department.
The lambardar told them that the animal market had been set up by local police, Rescue 1122 officials, and a private person named Maqsood.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 27th, 2021.
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