KARACHI: An accountability court fixed March 4 for hearing on an application of absconding builder Zain Malik seeking acquittal in a case pertaining to alleged illegal amalgamation of prime commercial land and its transfer to Bahria Town for a high-rise building.

Former Karachi mayor and Pak Sarzameen Party chairman Syed Mustafa Kamal, former district coordination officer of Karachi Fazlur Rehman, executive district officer Iftikhar Kaimkhani and four others are facing trial in the case.

On Wednesday, the matter was fixed before the administrative judge of the accountability courts, Farid Anwar Qazi, for filing of a compliance report regarding execution of non-bailable warrants against two absconding builders Mohammad Yaqoob and Zain Malik, associated with the M/s DJ Builders and Developers.

Nine suspects including Mr Kamal appeared in court on bail.

The court is told that SHC had suspended the operation of arrest warrant against Zain Malik till 19th

Mr Yaqoob appeared and surrendered himself in court after obtaining interim pre-arrest bail from the Sindh High Court.

The court directed the prosecution to provide copies of documentary evidence to him as required under Section 265-C of the Criminal Procedure Code.

However, Mr Malik, who is son-in-law of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz, was absent.

Previously, the court was informed that he was reportedly out of the country for medical treatment and could not return to join the case because of his ill health.

Therefore, the judge adjourned the matter regarding issuance of his non-bailable arrest warrants since it was informed that the SHC had suspended the operation of his arrest warrant on Jan 17 and the same order was further extended till Feb 19.

The judge also fixed March 4 for hearing on an application moved on behalf of Mr Malik seeking his acquittal in the present case since defence counsel Aamer Raza Naqvi was absent.

In a previous hearing, the defence counsel had moved the application, under Section 265-K of the CrPC and relevant sections of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 pleading to the court to acquit his client in the present case.

In June, the administrative judge had admitted the reference against Mr Kamal, Mr Rehman, Mr Kaimkhani, then DO Mumtaz Haider, then additional DO Syed Nishat Ali and then sub-registrar-II, Clifton, Nazir Zardari.

Five builders, including Zain Malik, all associated with DJ Builders and Developers, have also been nominated in the reference.

According to the reference, Mr Malik and others associated with DJ Builders in connivance with Mr Kamal, ex-DCO Rehman and others unlawfully got amalgamated the plots and 102 stalls and subsequently got them transferred in favour of Bahria Town Private Limited through a conveyance deed without obtaining permission from the Karachi Development Authority.

Published in Dawn, February 13th, 2020