Impunity and the rule of law: Fake guarantors, forged sureties allow suspects to dodge the law

Police have registered 13 cases this year for standing surety using fake papers.

Rizwan Shehzad September 15, 2013
A surety is a guarantee document furnished by a person known to the accused when the latter is released on bail by a court. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: Corruption has dug its claws deep into the legal system of the city, as it has surfaced that many high-profile criminals have managed to get off scot-free from Karachi’s trial courts by producing fake guarantors and forged documents, The Express Tribune has learnt.

The increasing number of fake guarantors has not only made court proceedings difficult but also resulted in increased trial time. “Fake guarantors and sureties provide an easy path for criminals to cheat the judiciary,” said Karachi Bar Association former president Mahmoodul Hassan.

Hassan said court staff and lawyers were involved in such activities. “It is the responsibility of the bench and bar to take strict action against such cheaters.”

The police have registered 13 cases for standing surety using fake papers so far this year. A glance at the cases registered in the city court revealed that 23 cases were registered in the year 2009 alone.

Hassan said that he had been the complainant in 30 to 40 fake surety cases from 1993 to 2001, adding that four to five accused were also sentenced by the court. Even though the record is not properly maintained, it emerged that more than 30 fake surety cases have been submitted in the last decade. “The person who maintains this record has been transferred. This is all we have to share right now,” said the duty officer of the City Court police station.

“Many a time, fake surety givers do not return, however, a case is registered against the suspects on the orders of a court,” said the police officer.

The cheaters sometimes also submit death certificates of the suspects released on bail, said the police official. Medical certificates are often used to pardon one’s absence from the court, however, the real story surfaces when the hospitals declare the stamp is forged.

What is a surety?

A surety is a guarantee document furnished by a person known to the accused when the latter is released on bail by a court. Ideally, the guarantor should be a close relative of the accused but it’s not necessary.

The surety is submitted in the form of Defence Saving Certificates, property papers, lease papers and vehicle papers. Once the surety is submitted in the court, the documents are sent to a bank, registrar office and excise technician office, respectively, for verification.

The departments return the papers with their remarks and then it emerges whether the documents were fake or already used by another party before the courts.

Most of the cases are registered under section 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Pakistan Penal Code, said a lawyer, Riaz Ahmed Bhatti. The punishment, however, is related to the offence, he added. “The surety amount is set on the discretion of the court,” said a lawyer, Farooq Ahmed Sherazi.

Personal recognisance bond

A Personal Recognisance (PR) bond is a signature bond, which involves no property or money as long as the suspect promises to appear at all future court dates. It is submitted when the court directs the suspect to submit surety and the like amount in the shape of a PR bond.

“PR bond is a surety that the suspect undertakes before the court,” said Bhatti. Commenting on forged sureties, Bhatti said that it was not possible for one man to complete the task. “Main work is done by the lawyers but behind him there is mafia which produces all kinds of documents.”

Published in The Express Tribune, September 16th, 2013.


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