PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court has refused to order authorities to strike the name of a private housing scheme’s project director off the Exit Control List over an alleged fraud.

A bench consisting of Justice Sahibzada Asadullah and Justice Wiqar Ahmad dismissed the petition of Prof Abdul Hameed Jan of Professor Model Town-II Peshawar for the removal of his name from the ECL, observing that the cases of the affected people for grievance resolution are pending with the high court.

It declared that the petitioner’s claim of having addressed the affected people’s grievance was contradicted by the records and facts, so the petition was devoid of merit.

The National Accountability Bureau Khyber Pakhtunkhwa had launched an inquiry under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO) into allegations of corruption and corrupt practices against the petitioner and others for “cheating public at large” in respect of the Professor Model Town-II Peshawar housing project.

Declares records contradicted petitioner’s claim of having addressed people’s grievance

It later issued a call-up notice to the petitioner as the housing scheme’s project director over fraud allegations.

The NAB received 51 claims regarding the scheme and learned that the petitioner and other partners collected Rs38.461 million on pretext of providing developed plots to allottees but failed to deliver on the promise.

The claimants insisted that the petitioner and his other partners had deprived several people of their hard-earned money.

In 2020, the high court ordered the placing of the name of the petitioner on the ECL at the request of a NAB deputy prosecutor general.

In the current petition, Prof Jan claimed that his firm had satisfied all claimants by giving them plots or returning their money.

His counsel contended that after amendments made in the NAO through the National Accountability (Amendment) Act 2022, the said project did not come under the purview of NAB.

During pendency of the petition, several affected persons filed applications with the court for impleading as respondents in the case. Their pleas were accepted.

Advocate Malik Shahbaz Khan appeared for the housing scam’s victims and said the petitioner along with other accused looted huge amounts under the garb of providing amenities like mosque, school, hospital, community hall, and shopping mall in the private housing scheme.

He claimed that no NOC was obtained from the competent authority and instead a bogus NOC of the Peshawar Development Authority was shown to the claimants.

The lawyer contended that the petitioner was running a joint bank account with other accused, including Prof Nauman, Mohammad Nisar and Hazrat Gul, through which huge amounts had been collected from the claimants with promise of allotment of developed plots.

He added that the petitioner had also fraudulently issued provisional allotment letters and possession letters to the claimants, whereas in fact the claimants had not been handed over possession of any plot.

The bench observed that admittedly, under the 2022 amendment Act, jurisdiction of the NAB was ousted in the instant matter but in light of the Supreme Court’s judgement rendered in the “Imran Khan Niazi versus Federation of Pakistan” case, the matter was to be decided afresh by the competent authority.

It added that as per the stand of the NAB, all referred cases were again reopened by the competent authority and that at the moment the present case was under consideration for decision afresh in light of the apex court’s judgement.

Published in Dawn, June 8th, 2024

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