Rs8 billion housing scam unearthed in Lahore
Believe it or not, in the form of a housing scheme, a renowned group has deprived a large number of people by selling files of plots that do not exist in the real term and this illegal business is going on without any check by the concerned authorities.
Before this scam came into limelight, dozens of such illegal housing societies have defrauded innocent civilians of their life saving amounting to billions of rupees. Such schemes could only succeed in doing such illegal transactions due to support from within the concerned authorities.
"Lahore Smart City", which claims to be a private housing scheme, is looting people by selling what are no more than ‘paper-plots’ and that too without getting an NOC (No Objection Certificate) from the Lahore Development Authority.
Looting through illegal housing schemes is believed to be on the rise in Lahore and its suburbs. The concerned authorities have been issuing warnings through newspaper ads saying that the general public should avoid buying such illegal plots. Some owners of such schemes have sought stay orders from the court and the issue is pending decision.
In this special report, City42 TV channel unearthed the alleged fraud by Lahore Smart City (LSC), located near Kala Shah Kaku Motorway Interchange, Main GT Road in Tehsil Ferozewala, district Sheikhupura.
The channel reported that illegal housing schemes have been given free hand. There is an urgent need for the LDA to take concrete steps against the illegal practice before citizens are left with an option but to commit suicide after losing their hard-earned savings.
Lahore city has become everybody’s dream for investment and in such a situation selling fake dreams by fraudsters to innocent 11.13 million people of the metropolis is not a difficult task.
After Bin Alam City, Grand Avenue, now Lahore Smart City (LSC) is looting people through fake schemes with no real lands existing on the ground.
It may be mentioned here that the Lahore Smart City is owned by the renowned Habib Rafiq Group.
Surprisingly, Lahore Smart City housing society cemented the foundation of fraud by merely planning a scheme on 4,530 kanals adjacent to the motorway link near Kala Shah Kaku Interchange, despite the fact that there is no society on the ground and without any NOC from Lahore Development Authority (LDA), which is the issuing authority for all the legal housing schemes in entire Lahore Division.
The TV channel reported that without getting any approval from the concerned authorities, Lahore Smart City dealers started a business of what can best be termed as ‘paper-plots’.
It is shocking to learn that in just a few days, files worth Rs8 billion were sold in the name of Pre-Launch Deal and yet there is no check on these illegal sales.
When the file business boomed in the city, the LDA advertised 8identifying an "illegal scheme" that too disappeared just two days later.
Now the LDA's Metropolitan Planning Department is allegedly tight-lipped and is not saying anything about the so-called scheme that is leading to continued sale of these non-existing plots.
It has been reported that so far 70 per cent of the total files of these paper-plots have been sold so far depriving a large number of buyers of their life-earned savings.
However, LDA Chief Metropolitan Planner, Nadeem Akhtar Zaidi advised that citizens must seek LDA’s legal opinion before buying these plots.
According to sources, the scheme received around Rs400 million from dealers and another amount of Rs2,000 million from buyers in the name of down payments.
It has been reported that the khasras numbers (revenue unit of land) that were shown for the sale purpose also came in section four of River Ravi that covers those who are located in flood areas.
It has further been alleged that more files have been sold than the actual land of the so-called scheme.
When the TV channel contacted Chief Commercial Officer (CCO) Lahore Smart City, Imran Zahid for his version, he said: “There are many more illegal societies in the city, but no one contacted them for its legal procedure. However, we will soon take necessary action to legalize our society".
The fate of those who have purchased such files hangs in the air. It remains to be seen how long the loot in the name of fake and illegal schemes goes on and when the concerned authorities would initiate any action and bring the culprits to the book.