KARACHI: The provincial government has decided to approach the federal government for issuance of a red notice for the arrest of an absconding deputy commissioner allegedly involved in the Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway land scam case.

Speaking at a press conference on Monday, Sindh government’s spokesman and chief minister’s law adviser Murtaza Wahab said that involvement of officials of the National Highway Authority (NHA) could not be ruled out in the mega corruption scandal.

He said that a deputy commissioner or acting commissioner could not have embezzled such a big amount alone.

He said that so far Rs420 million had been recovered and further inquiry into the matter was going on.

Barrister Wahab, who is also administrator of Karachi, said that the DC-Naushahro Feroze, Tashfeen Alam, had fled the country on Nov 18. “The anti-corruption establishment [ACE] has registered a case pertaining to the scam and his [Alam] name is included in the FIR,” he added.

Says federal govt to be approached for issuance of red notice against absconding DC

He said that DC Alam, among several others, had been accused of being involved in suspicious transactions of over Rs2bn meant for acquiring land for the M6 Sukkur-Hyderabad Motorway project.

He said that since the FIR was based on a comprehensive fact-finding report, it had been decided that the ACE would approach the federal government so that a red warrant for the former DC was issued via Interpol.

The administrator said that the provincial government had taken timely action to prevent further irregularities in the matter as the funds allocated for the project had frozen in six districts of the province.

He said that while a joint investigation team (JIT) probed the matter, the provincial government directed that motorway funds in six districts — Matiari, Khairpur, Shaheed Benazirabad, Naushahro Feroze, Sukkur and Hyderabad — should be frozen and no payments were to be made so as not to cause any further loss to the exchequer.

He said the JIT submitted its report to the Sindh government on Nov 17 which highlighted “glaring irregularities”.

An FIR was then lodged in Matiari and the DC and relevant assistant commissioner were arrested, he said, adding that some employees of Sindh Bank, from where the M6 project’s funds were withdrawn, had also been taken into custody.

Referring to the fact-finding inquiry regarding the misappropriation of lands in Matiari, he said that the chief minister had ordered action against all alleged fraudsters.

Barrister Wahab said that the assistant commissioner allegedly involved in the land scam had obtained bail. He said that some bank officials had been detained and grilled, while some private people were also involved.

Published in Dawn, December 6th, 2022

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