LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday indicted Lahore Develo­pment Authority’s (LDA) former director general Ahad Khan Cheema on a charge of accumulating assets beyond his known sources of income and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to produce witnesses on the next hearing.

Earlier, Mr Cheema was produced before the court by authorities of Kot Lakhpat jail where he is kept on judicial remand in connection with Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme and LDA-City scams.

A NAB prosecutor told the court that copies of the reference had already been provided to the accused. He also read the charges levelled against Mr Cheema which the bureaucrat denied and opted to contest them in trial.

Presiding judge Syed Najamul Hasan Bokhari extended the judicial remand of Mr Cheema for 14 days and directed NAB to produce him again on Jan 30 along with the prosecution witnesses.

NAB has alleged that Mr Cheema being the LDA director general has accumulated assets in and outside the country beyond his known sources of income.

It said the illegal assets possessed by Mr Cheema valued over Rs600 million. The bureaucrat also held benami properties in the names of his wife and other family members, said the reference.

NAB had arrested Mr Cheema on Feb 21, 2018, on charges of misusing his authority with a criminal intent and awarding the Rs14 billion contract of Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing scheme in violation of rules.

It alleged that Mr Cheema received gratification in the form of 32 kanals of land from the owners of Paragon City Developers for awarding the housing scheme contract to its proxy firm namely Bismillah Engineering.

Leader of the Opposition in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and former principal secretary to then prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad are also accused in the same reference and are on judicial remand.

Published in Dawn, January 18th, 2019