HYDERABAD: Anti-corruption (provincial) Special Judge Zahoor Ahmed Hakro on Tuesday transferred the multibillion rupee land scam case of M6 Hyderabad-Sukkur motorway from Anti-Corruption Establishment to National Accountability Bureau over the federal graft agency’s request.

The NAB prosecutor had filed an application to this effect in the court in December last year.

The land scam surfaced in November last year when over Rs3 billion were withdrawn in cash by then assistant commissioner of Saeedabad, Mansoor Abbasi, from Sindh Bank. The Sindh government conducted a fact-finding probe which led to the arrest of Matiari DC Adnan Rasheed. Later, Abbasi and Sindh Bank area manager Tabish Shah were also arrested.

A similar land scam was reported in M6 project in Naushahro Feroze district. Then DC Tashfeen Alam Khan had since fled the country. Sindh Bank officials in Naushahro Feroze were arrested by Federal Investigating Agency (FIA).

The Sindh government launched probes in both cases and their reports were submitted to the departments concerned.

Suspect remanded in NAB custody

The NAB arrested one Ashiq Hussain Kaleri in Karachi on Jan 21 in connection with inquiry into M6 land scam of Hyderabad-Sukkur Motorway and claimed to have recovered Rs137,590,000 from his possession.

He was produced before administrative judge of accountability court Hyderabad on Monday, which remanded him in NAB custody for seven days till Jan 31.

Kaleri’s counsel, Ayaz Tunio, claimed that the court ordered medical examination of the suspect after he filed a separate application, claiming that he was maltreated in NAB custody. He was not allowed to sleep, said the counsel quoting his client.

Tunio said that the court also ordered investigating officer (IO) of NAB to provide him medicines he needed.

The suspect, according to NAB’s IO, was involved in the same scam and he had sought his 13 days remand in the bureau’s custody.

The IO said that the suspect was under investigation in the case involving then Matiari DC, Adnan Rasheed, and others who were accused of misusing authority in land acquisition for M6 Hyderabad-Sukkur motorway project of the National Highway Authority.

The defense counsel Tunio submitted that his client had recently undergone surgery for piles, therefore, the IO should be directed to provide him necessary treatment from doctor.

He requested the court that the IO should be directed that his client was not maltreated.

The IO informed the court that NAB chairman had issued arrest warrants for the suspect on Jan 16 and he was arrested in Karachi on Jan 21 while driving a vehicle LA-9669 on Sharea Faisal.

The IO informed the court that they had found evidence that Kaleri was involved in the scam of embezzlement of government funds and they were conducting more raids in the light of information gleaned from him in Karachi and Nawabshah. Besides, the Rs137,590,000 recovered from the suspect more such recoveries were expected, he said.

He said that ample evidence against the suspect had been collected which showed he had played a significant role in the scam and the entire fraud was committed by the main suspects in collusion with Kaleri. Therefore, his remand for physical custody was necessary to ascertain real facts and collect more evidence, he said.

After the arrest, the suspect was produced before duty magistrate, i.e. civil judge and judicial magistrate-VI, Karachi South, for obtaining one day physical custody remand which was allowed accordingly by court to produce him before Hyderabad’s accountability court.

Published in Dawn, January 25th, 2023

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