KARACHI: An anticorruption court on Thursday remanded the director general of the Karachi Development Authority and another suspect in custody of Anti-Corruption Establishment for one day in a case pertaining to alleged misuse of authority.

However, the court remarked that apparently, no strong evidence had been placed before it by the ACE and granted only one-day physical remand with the direction to the investigating officer to produce the suspects on Friday.

The KDA director general, Asif Ali Memon, had complained to the Supreme Court a couple months ago during a hearing about his removal from the post hardly three months after his appointment and obtained a stay order from the Sindh High Court. He was named in an FIR along with three other officials of the KDA for allegedly not relieving them to report to the local government department after the officials were transferred and suspended.

The IO produced the suspects before the in-charge judge of the anticorruption court for a remand and during the hearing the judge expressed resentment over the IO and the prosecutor as they could not explain the alleged offences and offer any justification to seek physical remand.

Court sees no strong evidence against suspects

Thereafter, the court summoned the deputy director (legal) of ACE for immediate appearance in court to make a clear statement about the exact allegations against the suspects.

Representing the KDA DG, Advocate Khawaja Shams-ul-Islam argued that the arrest was illegal as his client was framed in the case by the ACE and arrested without conducting any inquiry for not obeying the orders of the minister of local government and exposing the ‘system’.

The counsel alleged that the chief secretary of Sindh was also harassing the DG and he had also filed an application in this regard and maintained that the chief minister was also not happy over the posting of his client and he was being allegedly victimised.

He argued that the approval of the FIR, registration of the case and arrest was made on the same day without holding any inquiry.

The deputy director of ACE argued that the DG did not relieve three officials of KDA despite their transfer orders and suspension and had directed them to continue their official work.

He claimed that Mr Memon had issued illegal directives by misusing his official authority and added that they had also issued notices to the suspects asking them to record their statements.

The court was informed that there was also an issue about transfer of a plot against the suspects.

The judge remarked that an inquiry had to be conducted if there were allegations regarding misuse of authority and also questioned the abrupt arrest of the suspects.

According to the FIR, the case was registered after the anti-corruption committee (ACC-I) had approved the same in its meeting held on Dec 29, as additional director of recovery Shaikh Fareed and assistant director of recovery Muhammad Zubair were transferred in October and directed to report to the LG department.

However, it further asserted that despite transfer orders, they were still working and issuing official orders in violation of rules as the DG directed them to continue with their duties.

The FIR said that both the officials of KDA recovery section along with another assistant director Atif Ahmed Khan were suspended and nominated along with the DG as accused in the FIR.

Two suspects in the case are still at large.

They were booked under Sections 162 (taking gratification, in order, by corrupt or illegal means, to influence public servant), 165 (public servant obtaining valuable thing, without consideration, from person concerned in proceeding or business), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act.

The role of other officers/officials of KDA will be determined during the course of investigation, the FIR concluded.

It may be recalled that in October, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Gulzar Ahmed had observed that Karachi’s civic agencies were powerless and officials were under fear of being transferred as the KDA DG had informed the bench that he got a stay order from the high court against his removal hardly three month after his appointment.

Mr Memon had further informed the apex court that he assumed office on Aug 4, but he was removed from the post and an ‘OPS officer’ had replaced him, but he got a stay order from the SHC, adding that when he asked the local government minister whether he or the chief minister were unhappy with him, the minister replied that the ‘system’ was not happy over his appointment.

The CJP had remarked that the ‘system’ was operating outside the country.

However, the KDA DG said that some people who were part of the ‘system’ were also here.

Published in Dawn, December 31st, 2021

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