Inquiry ordered against 2 policemen accused of forcibly selling deceased citizen's land

The Supreme Court on Saturday ordered an inquiry against two police officers accused of forcing the sale of properties belonging to a deceased citizen at below market prices.

The court also summoned for questioning former judge Hamid Ali Shah, who is accused of illegally arbitrating a dispute between claimants of the said properties and overseeing their disposal.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, who heard the case, said that the police officers involved should be removed and an inquiry into the incident should be conducted.

Inspector General of Sindh Police (IG) Dr Syed Kaleem Imam, who was till recently the IG Punjab, also submitted his inquiry report on the incident in line with an order of the court.

IG Imam reported that two police officers, Lahore Capital City Police Officer (CCPO) Amin Wains and Senior Superintendent of Police (SP) Umer Virk, had forcibly sold the deceased citizen's land at below market prices, and that the proceeds from the sale were also withheld from the heirs of the deceased.

The inspector general recommended a departmental inquiry against the two officers and others involved in the sale of the citizen's land, and added that if the heirs of the deceased wanted, they could file a criminal case against the police officers in a relevant forum.

The complainant in the case, the deceased's widow Fauzia Ajmal, had previously stated that Wains and Virk had used their influence to get a decision in the favour of her rival parties regarding the transfer of the property of her late husband, Sheikh Ajmal.

Ajmal had owned the Akbari departmental stores located in Kashmir and Hunza blocks of Lahore's Iqbal Town, West Wood Colony and Jain Mandir. The complainant had said several people claimed their share in the properties, including his sons from his first wife, his partner and over a 100 other people. She suffered huge financial losses due to the “dubious financial transactions” to the so-called shareholders, Fauzia had alleged.

Additional Inspector General (AIG) Abu Bakr Khuda Baksh, in an inquiry report released earlier this year, had concluded that Fauzia’s allegations were true and had recommended to the then chief minister, Shahbaz Sharif, the registration of a criminal case and initiation of departmental action against both officers.

However, the officer had sought a review of the report and a new inquiry by police high-ups, saying that his statement was ignored in the first instance.

CJP Nisar today asked how the police had gotten involved in a matter that was between unrelated claimants.

The chief justice also asked investigators to ascertain the validity of the claims made by the various claimants to the properties, asking that if any had claimed to be the deceased's business partners, their tax records should reflect that.

"If there are no tax records, they [the people laying claim to the property] are all thieves," the chief justice said. "We cannot leave the people at the mercy of extorters," he said.

During the hearing, Mian Zafar Iqbal Kalanauri, the petitioners' counsel, said that he did not understand how and under which law retired justice Hamid Ali Shah had become an arbitrator for the sale.

Accused police officer Amin Wains dismissed the IG's report, saying IGP Imam had levelled false accusations and attacked his character.

AIG Khuda Baksh said that they had requested that a direct case be registered against the police officers, and informed the court that the security establishment had been directed to stop the deployment of police officer Amin Wains to any area till the matter is resolved.

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