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LAHORE: Minister for Railways Sheikh Rashid Ahmad will be meeting the Chief Justice of Pakistan and the National Accountability Bureau chairman with the request to expedite proceedings on three mega corruption scandals in the railways.

“We will now pursue on a fast-track basis proceedings of the cases pertaining to Royal Palm and Country Club, Business Express and Shalimar Hospital which have been lying pending for the last many years,” said the minister at a news conference at Railways headquarters here on Saturday.

The original contracts in the three matters were tampered with, causing railways loss worth billions of rupees.

“The people who got contracts (for the three matters) are mafias… they not only occupied precious land but also did not give even a single penny to railways and now they are taking shelter of court orders,” he said while adding that he would personally request the CJP and the NAB chairman to expedite proceedings, enabling railways to get back its due amount and possession of its land. He said as part of the 100-day plan [to start 10 new trains], six have been launched while Sindh Express, Shah Abdul Lateef Bhitai Express, Lahore-Faisalabad Non-Stop would be inaugurated by Prime Minister Imran Khan on Nov 23.

He said students opting to travel by trains during their winter vacation – from Dec 25 to Jan 10 – would get 50 per cent concession in fares. To a question, the minister said an inquiry committee, headed by federal government inspector of railways, had been constituted to investigate derailments since he took over. “I am not responsible for derailment that took place before me,” he said.

Published in Dawn, November 18th, 2018