KARACHI: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday filed a reference against former Karachi mayor and Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal and others regarding alleged illegal allotment of around 5,500 square yards of commercial land to Bahria Town for a multistorey building.

The administrative judge of the accountability courts, Dr Sher Bano Karim, admitted the reference and issued notices to the nominated suspects. The trial would be conducted by the Accountability Court-III.

NAB also booked in the reference then district coordination officer Fazlur Rehman, then executive district officer Iftikhar Kaimkhani, then district officer Mumtaz Haider, then additional DO Syed Nishat Ali and then sub-registrar-II, Clifton Nazir Zardari.

It also named five builders — Zain Malik, the son-in-law of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz, Mohammad Dawood, Mohammad Yaqoob, Mohammad Irfan and Mohammad Rafiq — all associated with M/s DJ Builders and Developers.

According to the reference, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation in 1982 created 198 stalls/shops on two amenity plots adjacent to the Kothari Parade for dislocated hawkers while four commercial plots, each measuring 255.55 sq-yds, were also created in the locality.

An accountability court admits the NAB reference and issues notices to all nominated suspects

It alleged that M/s DJ Builders purchased four commercial plots and 198 stalls of the hawkers. However, the two amenity plots were never transferred in the builder’s name.

NAB alleged that Zain Malik and others associated with M/s DJ Builders in connivance with then Karachi nazim Kamal, DCO Rehman and others unlawfully got transferred 102 stalls in favour of Bahria Town Private Limited through a conveyance deed without obtaining permission from the Karachi Development Authority.

The statement of the site officer clearly mentioned that the possession of the plots was merely a formality in documents, thus the physical possession of the land was never handed over to the builders since it was not possible at the site, which required bifurcation or earmarking at the site. This clearly showed the whole scenario was made just to take over the pots of the hawkers and to give illegal benefit to M/s DJ Builders, it added.

It further mentioned that the plots were mortgaged with the Muslim Commercial Bank (MCB) and the transfer was illegal since the plots were also attached by the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR).

It stated that the price was shown in the registration deed as only Rs260 million. The market value of the said plots was assessed at Rs2.155 billion and the forced sale value at Rs1.724bn.

The reference said it was clear from the assessment report that the whole transaction was done illegally and in violation of the law/rules.

It alleged that Mr Malik is the subsequent beneficiary of the amalgamated plot, which was illegally transferred in the name of M/s Bahria Town in active connivance of the main beneficiary (DJ Builders and Developers) and the sub-registrar­II, Clifton.

It further stated that the hawkers’ stalls were primarily for the sole purpose of establishing a cabin bazaar with only ground floor constructions, but the Karachi Building Control Authority (KBCA) had approved a 17-storey commercial building. As per the joint survey, the area of the subject land was mentioned as 6,622.89 sq yds, but it was illegally increased to 6,632 sq yds.

It accused then DCO Rehman of extending illegal benefit to the builder by recommending incorporation of the walkways, etc.

It further accused the then nazim Kamal of illegally recommending amalgamation of the stalls/cabin bazaar with four commercial plots to the builders for Bahria Town for the multistorey building.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2019