Trust land: DHA set to execute Supreme Court order

The court in its judgement directed DHA to give a third of plots to ETPB.

Asad Kharal December 01, 2013
In its judgement in the case the SC had directed the housing authority to give 33 per cent of the developed plots on 843 kanals to ETBP according to their original agreement. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE: The Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Lahore, has agreed in compliance with the Supreme Court orders to handover the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB) the developed plots it had agreed to give it under its original agreement, and hand back the possession of 397 kanals of additional land currently in its possession.

The DHA secretary has said this in a letter addressed to the Supreme Court registrar, the ETPB chairman and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).

In its judgement in the case the SC had directed the housing authority to give 33 per cent of the developed plots on 843 kanals to ETBP according to their original agreement.

The chief settlement commissioner has started the demarcation process to return the additional 397 kanals ETPB land taken over by the DHA.

FIA officials said the agency has obtained proclamation orders against former ETPB chairman Asif Hashmi, the principal accused in the Rs1.93 billion scandal.

Former vice chairman Ahsan Jaffery, Land and Properties Secretary Salim Masih, Administrator Chaudhry Saeed Anwar, Deputy Administrator Asif Riaz Sheikh and tehsildar Muhammad Siddique have already been arrested in the case by the FIA.

Former Ministry of Minorities’ Affairs secretary Abdul Ghaffar Soomro, Joint Secretary Tahir Ali Shah, 16 members of board of directors, several DHA officials and five others, Amir Saleh Abbasi , Shah Jehan , Kamran Baig, Nazeer Hussain and Akbar Bhatti are still at large .

An FIA report which formed the basis for the FIR, states, “without considering the earlier recommendations of Board [i.e.33 per cent exempted developed plots as per offer of DHA dated July 20, 2007] and without determining the terms and conditions, the haphazard approval granted by the Ministry for Minorities Affairs of 25 per cent exempted residential plots/files shows personal vested interests.”

The report also says the ETPB and the ministry paid Rs657.711 million to unauthorised persons.

The registration fee amounting to Rs39 million was also paid by the ETPB instead of the DHA Lahore. The report says that the total loss incurred to ETPB amounted to Rs1.934 billion. “The reduction from 33 per cent exemption developed to 25% exemption plot files [alone] caused a loss amounting to Rs972 million to ETPB due to reduction of 108 plots (each plot of one kanal valued Rs9 million).”

An amount of Rs657.77 million paid by DHA instead of ETPB in account of compensation to unauthorised persons in shape of Rs126.77 million as cash and Rs531 million in account of 59 plots of one kanal valuing Rs9 million each plot despite the fact that the ETPB never asked the DHA to remove any settlers from its land.

The transfer of lands was stopped but the agreement had not been cancelled so far leading to a liability of Rs18.8 million against the ETPB for the expenditures incurred by the DHA for vacation of the said land.

The ETPB land situated at Lidher and Mota Singh Wala villages transferred to the DHA comes to 843 kanal and 15 marlas.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 2nd, 2013.


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