Land fraud case transferred to NAB court

RAWALPINDI, Oct 25: An anti-corruption court here on Thursday transferred to the accountability court a land fraud case in which property tycoon Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz are allegedly involved.

The anti-corruption court judge, Shakeel Ahmed, declined the request of the prosecutor general Punjab, Sadaqat Ali Khan, for adjourning the matter till after Eid vacations. The application seeking the case’s transfer had been filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

It is alleged that Malik Riaz, his son and some officials of Bahria Town got 1,401 kanals of land in Azizal and Malkal villages near Rawat transferred in their names through bogus documents. The judge directed the accused persons to appear before the accountability judge on November 8.

It may be recalled that the Lahore High Court (LHC)’s Rawalpindi bench on September 19 had validated an investigation carried out by the Anti-Corruption Establishment into the case. It had also directed the anti-corruption court to decide the application related to the transfer of the case.

The case is based on two FIRs registered by the ACE in 2009 on the complaints of some of the land owners.

Since February 2009, the ACE conducted four inquiries into case. According to the prosecution, the ACE in the earlier inquiries had exonerated the property tycoon, his son and senior officials of Bahria Town. However, during the hearing of the bail petition of one of the accused persons in the Supreme Court on May 23, 2011, it was pointed out that the ACE had exonerated the influential beneficiaries and booked the less important persons.

Later, on the direction of the apex court, the director general ACE constituted a four-member team to investigate the matter, said the prosecution. The team in its report submitted to the Supreme Court in September 2011 nominated Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz as well as 14 other influential persons as accused in the land fraud case.

Malik Riaz then filed a petition with the LHC for the quashment of the inquiry but when the court summoned him, he submitted another application to the Supreme Court.

The apex court, while granting him interim bail, directed him to appear before the trial court but he did not, and withdrew the petition from the LHC, the prosecution said.

In the meanwhile, the prosecution pointed out, the incumbent chairman NAB Admiral (retired) Fasih Bokhari took charge of his office in October last year and issued orders for transfer of the case to NAB.

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