ISLAMABAD: The Anti-Benami Zone Islamabad has filed six references in the adjudicating authority’s bench-I against Pakistan Muslim League Nawaz Senator Chaudhry Tanvir on the charge of having 7,125 kanals of land registered in the name of his relatives and servants.

The proceedings will be completed within one month by the adjudication authority. The anti-benami zone has completed its investigations prior to the filing of the references against which proceedings before adjudicating authority will be processed under Benami Act 2017.

Azhar Ali, Mohammad Maroof, Moham­mad Basharat, Raja Abdul Aziz, Shahjahan Begum and Raja Abdul Shakoor are the others nominated in the references. In each reference, Mr Tanvir has also been made a party.

As per law, in case Mr Tanvir did not provide enough evidence on the benami property in question to the adjudicating authority, the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will confiscate over Rs3 billion worth property located near new Islamabad Internat­ional Airport.

Moreover, the adjudicating authority can jail for seven years Senator Tanvir, his three relatives and three servants in whose names these properties are registered.

On July 1 the government established the directorate general of Anti-Benami Initia­tive (ABI) on July 1 to deal with benami assets followed by the FBR setting up as many anti-benami zones under the ABI to file references in the adjudicating authority.

However since its establishment, only one reference has been filed before the adjudicating authority.

With the filing of the six references on Wednesday Nov 6, now the total number of references has reached seven.

An ABI official says that nine references were going to be filed by the end of the current month. These references involve “mega cases” like the one pertaining to the Omni group’s 7,000 kanals of benami land, the official said, adding that the worth of the assets mentioned in the proposed references was around Rs20bn. In Omni group case, there are 34 benamidars, but only one reference has been filed so far. The official said that three to four references were expected to be filed by the end of this month.

Moreover, 7000-8000 kanals of land wou­­ld be attached by the end of the current month, the official claimed. Another 40,000 kanals of benami land is under investigation.

The benami law provides the right of appeal at the level of adjudicating authorities, federal tribunals, high courts and the Supreme Court.

Published in Dawn, November 8th, 2019