LAHORE: A special anti-corruption court on Wednesday indicted Rawalpindi’s former commissioner retired Capt Muhammad Mahmood Rai and land acquisition collector Waseem Tabish in the ring road scam.

Both accused officers pleaded “not guilty” and the court directed the prosecution to produce its witnesses on July 14.

The accused officers, who are on bail, were present in the court along with their counsel Burhan Moazam Malik.

The counsel said the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) registered a fabricated case against his clients.

He said the former chief minister had formed a three-member inquiry committee in the matter, and two of its members cleared the accused officers of the allegations, while one member recommended registration of the first information report (FIR) against them.

The ACE alleged that the former commissioner and the land acquisition collector caused over Rs10bn loss to the national exchequer by allowing some big developers of housing societies to establish five interchanges on the ring road.

It said Nova Housing Society was involved in sale of one file for Rs10 million, earning total total Rs1.5 billion from files’ sale. The society is believed to be owned by close relatives of former federal minister Ghulam Sarwar.

In a recent development, the federal government exonerated 13 bureaucrats, including Mr Mahmood and Mr Tabish, in a departmental inquiry initiated into the scandal.

Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif had ordered a re-investigation of the charges against the government officers. The probe found them innocent.

Published in Dawn, July 7th, 2022

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