Rawalpindi, July 30: An anti-corruption court in Rawalpindi on Saturday declared property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son and other seven accused of a land fraud case as proclaimed offenders and started the process for the attachment of their properties after they failed to surrender to the court despite issuance of non-bailable warrants.
The anti-corruption judge, Ameer Mohammad Khan, assigned the deputy collector Rawalpindi for compiling details of the moveable and immovable properties of Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz and seven other accomplices — Milad Bibi, alias Hammad Bibi, Sheikh Sajidur Rehman, Iftikhar Munshi, Iqbal Hussain Shah, Mohammad Ashfaq, Dildar Hussain and Nisarul Haq.
The court appointed commissioner Rawalpindi as the custodian of the attached properties.
Declaring property tycoon and other accused of 1,401 kanal land fraud case proclaimed offender, the court also directed the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) for pasting the posters for the proclamation of the accused persons at their residences, prominent places and outside the court.
The court gave the tycoon another month to surrender before declaring him absconder and initiating process for the confiscation of the attached properties.
Prosecutor general Punjab Sadaqat Ali Khan told Dawn that on the next hearing on September 3, ACE (Punjab) would request the court for confiscation of properties of the tycoon, his son and other accomplices.
“I have conveyed the court order to commissioner Rawalpindi and he would also appear in the court on the next date of the hearing, along with details of the attached properties of Malik Riaz and other accused of land fraud case,” he added.
During the hearing, the court also issued non-bailable warrants for the arrest of SSP Malik Mohammad Yousaf, who allegedly harassed the officials of ACE Punjab and obstructed the arrest of tycoon, while ACE Punjab tried to arrest the tycoon.
The counsel for Malik Yousaf, however, informed the court that his client due to his engagement in the Supreme Court could not appear in the anti-corruption court.
The judge then withdrew the arrest warrants but directed Malik Yousaf to appear in person on the next hearing on September 9.
Qaiser Qadeer Qureshi, legal adviser Bahria Town (BT) told the court that Sindh High Court (SHC) had granted the tycoon and other accused protective transitory bail till August 15 and requested the court to wait till the expiry of the protective bail.
He told Dawn that it was a harsh decision of the court and BT would challenge it in the appropriate forum.
He said the trial court passed a harsh decision as the matter regarding the jurisdiction of ACE is already pending in the LHC for adjudication.
According to him, the BT management had already filed an application for the transfer of the said case from anti-corruption court Rawalpindi to any other court which is yet to be decided.
It is pertinent to mention that ACE registered a criminal case against Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz and their accomplices in the land fraud case, which was based on two FIRs registered against them for acquiring 1,401 kanals of land, near Rawat on fake and forged documents in 2009.
Anti-corruption judge on June 26, 2009 issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz, as well as for seven others for failing to appear before the court.
According to the prosecution, Malik Riaz and his other accomplices prepared forged documents of 1,401 kanal of land of widows, orphans and dead persons.
ACE in its inquiry found Malik Riaz, his son and others employees as well as some revenue officials of the government of Punjab guilty, and in October 2011, ACE obtained their arrest warrants from anti-corruption court.
Governor Punjab Sardar Latif Khan Khosa on the request of the tycoon directed the ACE to quash the inquiry but Punjab government did not accept the governor’s order.
The tycoon then challenged the ACE proceedings in the LHC but withdrew the petition when the court summoned him in person.
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on November 21 issued a letter for the transfer of the said land fraud case from ACE to NAB but the former refused to hand over the record to NAB and challenged the transfer order in the LHC, alleging that the tycoon wanted friendly prosecution in NAB.