KARACHI: The Supreme Court on Friday expressed resentment on National Accountability Bureau for recommending closure of an inquiry against the alleged illegal allotment of two acres land, said to be an amenity plot, adjacent to an amusement park on Rashid Minhas Road to a foreigner.
A three-judge SC bench headed by Justice Gulzar Ahmed came down hard on the investigating officer of NAB for filing a fake report and directed the anti-graft watchdog to properly investigate the matter and come up with a detailed report.
In the last hearing, the apex court sought a report from NAB about the status of the plot after it was informed that a plaza was being built on an amenity plot adjacent to an amusement park.
On Friday, NAB IO Umesh Kumar Malani along with deputy prosecutor general (DPG) NAB Amjad Ali Shah appeared before the bench and submitted a report.
The report claimed that the inquiry was conducted by the combined investigating team (CIT) of NAB and recommended closure as the allegations could not be substantiated for want of incriminating evidence.
Justice Ahmed warned of sending the IO to jail for furnishing a fake report and observed that it was the violation of the apex court’s 2012 judgment, adding that there were also a number of high court orders about such land.
Orders inspection of Sea Breeze Plaza to ascertain whether the building is dangerous or not
The DPG NAB sought time to file a detained report and requested to return the report in question.
While dictating the order, Justice Ahmed said that upon the perusal of the report, filed by NAB, it was found not acceptable as it was not in accordance with law and court orders, adding that it was not explained in the report that how the land was allotted to a UAE national.
The NAB report said that the inquiry was initiated in August 2016 on the complaint of Transparency International Pakistan that 15 acres of agricultural land was illegally allotted to Nasser Abdulla Lootah in the 1980s/90s in Gulistan-i-Jauhar, 30-year lease was granted for poultry, agriculture or cattle farming, but illegally converted into 99-year for industrial purpose and two acres plot, which was cancelled in October 2015, was illegally restored by way of illegal exchange.
NAB contended in the report that the inquiry was conducted by CIT and as per the collected record, the allotment of two acres land was made in 1991 and it was not in exchange of 15 acres land and payment was also made by the allottee and maintained that it was a fresh allotment for residential/commercial purpose.
The report further said that a general order about cancelation of all exchange allotments was issued in 2015 by the land utilisation department for the entire province and therefore the allottee, being an aggrieved person, approached the secretary land utilisation department with an argument that the two acres land did not come under exchange allotments and asked for its restoration.
Thereafter, the land utilisation department had sent a summary to the then chief minister and after the approval, the two acres land’s allotment was restored, it added.
Inspection of Sea Breeze Plaza ordered
The same bench also directed the National Engineering Services Pakistan (Nespak) and the Pakistan Engineering Council (PEC) to jointly inspect the Sea Breeze Plaza, located on M.A. Jinnah Road, and sought report about the status of the building in two months.
The S.B. Complex Owners Welfare Association moved the apex court requesting it to review its May 9 order regarding the demolition of the plaza.
The Karachi Cantonment Board and the technical committee of Sindh Building Control Authority placed reports before the bench on Friday and reports said that the building was examined on Aug 7, but it needed full and proper assessment.
The acting chairman of PEC informed the bench that a panel of experts will be provided to Nespak for coordination and assistance in the inspection.
The bench directed Nespak and the PEC to jointly carry out the inspection with latest equipment and come up with a report in two months whether the building was dangerous or sustainable. The court also directed the technical team of the SBCA to provide its input to the joint inspection team.
Matter about KRC, encroachments adjourned
The bench adjourned a matter pertaining to revival of the Karachi Circular Railway, encroachments and sewerage issues of Karachi for two weeks.
Earlier, the apex court had sought compliance report from the provincial and federal authorities on its order about the KCR, improvement of the state of affairs of Karachi, including encroachments, sewerage system, illegal and unauthorised constructions.
On Friday, the officials of the federal and provincial authorities briefed the judges on these issues in the chamber.
Some of the participants told reporters outside the courtroom that the provincial officials informed the judges that revival of the KCR and tram service were not implementable and contended that other mega transport projects would be launched and requested the judges to revisit their order about revival of the KCR and tram services.
Besides the provincial authorities, the notices were also issued to the federal finance secretary, the secretary of planning and attorney general for next date.
Published in Dawn, August 10th, 2019