HYDERABAD: Special judge of anti-corruption Zahoor Ahmed Hakro on Thursday remanded Matiari deputy commissioner Adnan Rasheed in judicial custody in Rs2.3 billion land scam for M6 project.

The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) circle officer for Matiari and member of an investigation team probing the case produced the DC, who had been suspended by Establishment Division and Sindh government, in the court of the special judge.

ACE circle officer had sought extension in the remand on the ground that the a detailed statement of the accused was to be recorded for recovery of more amount but the court did not allow it on ground that he had already been remanded in ACE’s custody and the application of for extension in the remand did not cite sufficient grounds for the remand.

Riazat Ali Sehar advocate, counsel for the DC, opposed request for remand.

According to the court’s order, the DC did not complain of any maltreatment. He was to remain in Nara prison till Dec 7.

On Monday, the judge had rejected pre-arrest bail of former assistant commissioner of Saeedabad and land acquisition officer (LAO) Mansoor Abbasi and area manager Sindh Bank Tabish Shah in the Rs2.3bn fraud case after the court was informed about recovery of Rs420m from the AC’s official residence.

The ACE team had raided the office in the light of interrogation from the DC and found the cash from the AC’s official residence on the first flour of his office.

The DC was arrested on Nov 17 after a Sindh government’s fact finding committee reported embezzlement of Rs2.14bn initially and a formal FIR was lodged by the ACE. The amount had been withdrawn over 26 days between Oct 17 and Nov 11, 2022, although funds for land acquisition for M6 motorway project were transferred by National Highway Authority (NHA) in 2018, said sources.

The committee notified on Nov 13 collected facts about the embezzlement and illegal withdrawal of funds from the bank, said the sources.

NHA’s funds released to the Sindh government were withdrawn in cash from the bank under directives of LAO/AC Saedabad Mansoor Abbasi. He had disbursed the amount among landowners without even passing an award under section 11 of Land Acquisition Act 1894. The funds were meant for acquisition of land to be used for M6’s Hyderabad-Sukkur motorway’s construction in Matiari district.

Published in Dawn, December 2nd, 2022

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