LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore on Thursday reacted coldly to the plea bargain of Paragon Housing Society Director Qaiser Amin Butt as it is keener to lay hand on its ‘true beneficial owner’.
The counsel for Mr Butt filed a plea bargain (PB) request with the NAB a couple of days ago and as response to request, the bureau declared on Thursday that it had ‘no immediate plan’ to entertain it.
“We have received the plea bargain (request) of Mr Butt through his counsel. First, he needs to fulfill the legal requirement; submitting an application with his thumb impression and signature and not the lawyer’s. Second, NAB is not legally bound to entertain the PB of a suspect as it is more concerned to unearth the true beneficial owner of the illegal Paragon Housing Society,” a NAB official told Dawn.
Gives cold response to plea bargain, says not legally bound to accept it
Mr Butt, against whom some 89 claims were submitted with NAB Lahore, expressed his willingness to compensate all of them.
Although the NAB official claims the suspect (Butt) has expressed his willingness to become an approver against the ‘true beneficial owner’ of the housing society, there has been no confirmation from Mr Butt’s counsel about this.
A PML-N leader has already claimed that there had been pressure on Mr Butt from NAB to become approver.
According to the application, filed by Butt’s counsel, 89 claims of the Paragon Housing Society have been filed in NAB.
“It is requested that the liability of the undersigned (Butt) may be determined for entering into the PB agreement and approved. The undersigned will pay the liability amount – 34pc down payment of the total amount, 33pc installment after three months and 33pc after three months of the first installment.”
Former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique, who has been on protective bail, had said NAB was looking for an approver in this inquiry. Both Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique had denied their links with the Paragon Housing.
According to NAB, the suspect in connivance with Nadeem Zia and other launched an illegal housing scheme —Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd — in 2005 on the basis of forged and fabricated documents along with alleged approvals from TMA Aziz Bhatti Town, Lahore.
“In 2013, all TMA approved housing schemes were transferred to Lahore Development Authority (LDA).
However, record of the Paragon Housing was intentionally not shifted to the LDA by the suspects. Paragon City Housing Society has not yet approved by the LDA. Thus, Qaiser Amin Butt being the beneficial owner is running the said housing scheme, unlawfully,” it said.
Nadeem Zia is reported to have fled to the US. Qaiser Amin Butt is in the custody of NAB Lahore till Dec 4 on a physical remand.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2018