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HYDERABAD: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) has launched an inquiry into the assets of PML-N Senator Dr Rahila Gul Magsi, which she purportedly acquired during her tenure as district nazim of Tando Allahyar during the Musharraf government, according to sources in ACE.

ACE Hyderabad region officials on Thursday collected record from the office of mukhtiarkar of Chambar town in Tando Allahyar district, which showed around 254 acres land registered in her children’s names.

More raids are to be conducted on various government offices in Tando Allahyar to secure record of the period between 2005 and 2010 when she served as the district nazim.

“The record needs to be verified now as to how this [254-acres] land was purchased and how money was arranged for the purchase,” said an ACE source, adding the inquiry had been launched under ‘directives’ of high-ups.

Dr Magsi gets bail

Dr Magsi appeared to be in the know of the imminent inquiry well in advance as she obtained interim pre-arrest bail from Sindh High Court’s principal seat in Karachi on Wednesday for a sum of Rs500,000, saying she feared her arrest on the basis of information of a ‘source’ in ACE. She was represented by Khawaja Naveed.

ACE authorities raided offices of executive engineers of highways and buildings on Wednesday evening to get the record in the presence of a magistrate. It is learnt that ACE officials will head for Tando Allahyar on Monday to obtain the record following procedural formalities.

Dr Magsi was elected district nazim of Tando Allahyar during the Musharraf regime after Hyderabad was split into four districts — Hyderabad, Tando Allahyar, Matiari and Tando Mohammad Khan — and she continued to serve as the nazim till the local government system was wound up by PPP’s government.

ACE Sindh director Usman Ghani Siddiqui had sent a letter to the ACE chairman Ghulam Qadir Thebo on April 24, seeking permission to conduct raids on relevant offices to seize record.

The letter, which was produced in court with Dr Magsi’s bail application, stated that “during tenure of Ms Rahila Magsi as zila nazim of Tando Allahyar, Sindh government released billions of rupees to the district government of Tando Allahyar for development projects.

“The then nazim awarded contracts of various development works to her cronies without completing codal formalities and through misuse of official power, violation of rules and misappropriated millions of rupees in connivance with her subordinates by way of purchasing furniture and other articles for DCO secretariat, district nazim offices and caused heavy losses to government etc.

“It is, therefore, requested that permission may kindly be accorded for conducting a raid under the supervision of a magistrate as per AC law and rules for obtaining relevant record to ascertain factual position, as proposed above by director ACE Hyderabad,” concluded the letter.

Dr Magsi contested 2013 elections for Tando Allahyar’s only National Assembly seat against PPP’s Sattar Bachani which she had lost and challenged her defeat in an election tribunal over rigging charges.

Earlier, during her tenure as district nazim she was booked in a case of attempted murder lodged at Tando Allahyar police station against her, her younger brother Dr Irfan Gul Magsi (who is now in PPP) and others. She was acquitted in the case in November 2008.

Dr Magsi had organised a workers’ convention of PML-N in Hyderabad on March 27 which was addressed by Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif. The PM had announced a number of projects during his address which included establishment of a federal university, international airport, Rs500 million for Hyderabad Municipal Corporation etc. She had also hosted a luncheon for the premier at her residence.

Dr Magsi told Dawn that the PM’s visit and subsequent announcements of projects had baffled the PPP government. “I am absolutely undeterred and my loyalties will remain unchanged,” she said and added that the PM would visit Hyderabad and Tando Allahyar again. Such actions were being taken to intimidate her, she added.

Published in Dawn, May 5th, 2017