A real estate firm was booked for allegedly forging the digital signature of an Indian Forest Service official to prepare a fake no-objection certificate of the state forest department for tree felling, officials said on Friday.
Forest department officials said that the firm was engaged in the construction of a multistorey building on a plot in Sushant Lok 1 in Sector 43 for which it needed to cut a few trees.
Officials said that around two months back, some residents spotted the firm’s contractor cutting the trees. When they asked for a valid permit to do so, the firm authorities handed over an NOC of the forest department for carrying out tree felling, said Rajeev Tejyan, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Gurugram.
“However, one of the residents realised that the issuing authority mentioned in the NOC was a senior IFS official who was posted in Gurugram in 2017-2018. The Municipal Corporation of Gurugram (MCG) was subsequently alerted and they approached us,” he said.
Tejyan said that an inquiry was carried out which found that no such NOC has even been issued to the said firm for cutting trees in Sushant Lok 1.
“They had used an old NOC from 2017-18. They scanned the digital signature of the senior IFS official posted at that time to prepare the forged one,” the DFO said.
Ompal Bhumla, block forest officer, Gurugram, said that the forged NOC stated that the firm was issued the document on June 4.
“Those who forged it claimed June 19 as the date for submission of the inspection report mentioned in the NOC. As this date was after the date of issuance of an NOC, it became clear to us that it was fake,” he said.
Bhumla said that they had carried out a detailed inquiry to find that the real estate firm indeed had cut a few trees on the plot for constructing apartments.
Tejyan, the DFO, said that such an NOC could be procured from the department through an online application. “We easily issue an NOC after a ground inquiry,” he said.
On the complaint of the block forest officer, an FIR was registered under Section 420 (cheating) of the Indian Penal Code at Sushant Lok police station on Thursday night.
Inspector Sandeep Kumar, station house officer of Sushant Lok police station, said that they will soon serve notice to the real estate firm to join the investigation. “After detailed questioning, necessary action will be taken against the suspects who had prepared the forged document,” he said.