Court gives more time to builder to settle plea bargain deal

Updated May 23, 2019

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People affected by housing project scam reject proposal accepted by NAB. — Dawn/File
People affected by housing project scam reject proposal accepted by NAB. — Dawn/File

KARACHI: An accountability court on Wednesday allowed time to the counsel for builders to settle the terms of a plea bargain deal, already accepted by the National Accountability Bureau, as the people affected by a housing scheme scandal rejected the proposal.

Rauf Ahmed Rufi and Manzoor Ahmed Rufi, the owners of the M/s Rufi Builders and Developers, have been booked in a case pertaining to cheating the public at large by denying possession of plots to over 400 allottees, who had made their payments around 17 years ago for the Rufi Global City project.

On Wednesday, the matter was fixed before the accountability court-III judge Dr Sher Bano Karim, when several people affected by the project were present in court on the court notice to argue on the proposed plea bargain deal.

The builders had filed an application through their counsel in court stating that they had entered into a plea bargain arrangement with the NAB authorities under Section 25(b) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

People affected by housing project scam reject proposal accepted by NAB

It was further stated that the NAB authorities had accepted their offer/plea bargain. Therefore, the court was asked to accept the plea bargain deal between the applicants and the federal anti-graft watchdog in terms of the Section 25(b).

However, the affected persons objected to the terms and conditions of the plea bargain proposed by the builders.

According to the proposed deal, the builders have agreed to compensate the victims by giving them plots once the plea bargain is accepted and they are out of prison.

The affected persons told the judge that they had been waiting for around 17 years, but the builders said that they would work out a mechanism of giving them plots after their release from prison.

Their counsel argued that the affected persons had objected to the terms and conditions of the proposal by the builders to accept the plea bargain as they had lost the earning of their life and would not accept any offer until plots were given to them by the builders before their release.

The counsel said the affected people apprehended that the applicants might not honour their commitment they had agreed upon after having being released from prison.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge allowed time to the counsel for the parties to work out the terms and conditions of the proposed plea bargain deal and submit the same in the court within three days. The matter was fixed on May 25.

According to the anti-graft watchdog, the M/s Rufi Builders and Developers had launched a housing project named Rufi Global City on a 45-acre piece of land on the main Superhighway and had booked houses and received money in instalments.

Later, they allegedly denied possession of 415 houses allotted to the public and also extorted money from them, it added.

Published in Dawn, May 23rd, 2019