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NAB gets custody of two suspects in fake accounts case

Updated March 13, 2019

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Jabbar and Shabbir claim they were abducted, NAB sources say they had gone underground to avoid investigation.— AFP/File
Jabbar and Shabbir claim they were abducted, NAB sources say they had gone underground to avoid investigation.— AFP/File

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court on Tuesday handed over the custody of two persons who were allegedly involved in illegal land allotment to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the fake bank accounts case.

While granting the physical remand of Abdul Jabbar and Mohammad Shabbir to NAB till March 21, Judge Mohammad Bashir directed the prosecution to produce them along with Sindh Land Utilisation Secretary Aftab Memon on the said date.

Both Mr Jabbar and Mr Shabbir, who had earlier been cited as witnesses in the fake accounts case being investigated by the Federal Investigation Agency, had disappeared in a mysterious manner five months ago.

Representing their families, counsel Sardar Mohammad Aslam had informed the Supreme Court in November 2018 that they had been ‘picked up’ by unidentified persons.

According to a complaint registered with the area magistrate on Nov 3, 2018, Shabbir along with his colleague Syed Amir Shehzad was going to Marine Point Building at 8pm when about seven to eight armed men took him away on two Vigo vehicles. Mr Jabbar was also allegedly picked up in the same way.

Mr Jabbar and Mr Shabbir claimed before the accountability court that they were picked up by some unknown persons and kept detained for about five months. They had not even been allowed to meet their family members since their alleged abduction, they added.

However, sources in NAB claimed that they had gone underground to avoid investigation. The NAB sources said they were recently picked up on a tip-off provided by an informer. According to the sources, the payments for illegally allotted land were also made through fake accounts.

Earlier, NAB arrested Mr Memon on March 7, a day after his warrants had been issued. The accountability court granted Mr Memon’s physical remand to NAB for 13 days to investigate illegal land allotments and his connection with the fake accounts case.

The anti-graft watchdog said he was arrested for an investigation into alleged misuse of authority. He was suspected of having illegally allotted government land in favour of M/S Pink Residency and others.

NAB special prosecutor Wasiq Malik informed the accountability court that both Mr Jabbar and Mr Shabbir in connivance with Mr Memon not only made illegal allotments but also transferred the allotted plots from suburbs to posh areas, thus causing a loss of Rs8 billion to the national exchequer.

Published in Dawn, March 13th, 2019