ISLAMABAD, June 9: Before the emergence of a controversy over Dr Arsalan Iftikhar’s alleged deals with Malik Riaz, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had virtually closed cases filed against the real estate magnate, sources said on Saturday.

They said that former high-ups of NAB’s regional office in Rawalpindi, which is dealing with the cases of Bahria Town and Mr Riaz, did not start any inquiry on more than a dozen complaints filed against the property tycoon.

It has been alleged that some top officials of NAB were appointed due to the enormous influence of Mr Riaz.

“It is true that no significant progress was made in the cases of Bahria Town in NAB but in 2010 Bahria Town was stopped from launching its 10th phase,” said NAB spokesman Zafar Iqbal.

He said during the past two years NAB’s own condition was so weak financially and administratively that it could not take significant action against Malik Riaz.

NAB allegedly flexed its muscles against the Bahria Town chief when he and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, a son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, were accused of having business connections and allegations surfaced that the CJ’s son had gained undue benefits from the property tycoon.

Meanwhile, NAB chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari conceded at a recent news conference that one of his daughters had been working for Bahria Town. However, he rejected a perception that he too had been appointed as NAB chief on the recommendation of Mr Riaz.

The NAB spokesman quoted his chairman as saying: “The NAB chairman is appointed by the president and it is up to him if he seeks any suggestion from his friends in this regard.”

A source in the NAB said the bureau would not take any immediate action against the real estate tycoon because many senior officers were reluctant to do so.

And this was indicated when a press release issued on Friday informed the media that some officials of NAB, Rawalpindi, had suggested ‘no further action’ against the Bahria Town chief.

However, the NAB chairman ordered a fresh inquiry into a famous Rs62 billion case against Mr Riaz and the Defence Housing Authority (DHA), Islamabad.

The NAB spokesman said Director General (Operations) Shahzad Anwar, who was appointed as head of the inquiry team, had started his work on Saturday and a separate committee would be formed on Monday to ascertain who had suggested ‘no further action’ against Mr Riaz and why cases of Bahria Town had remained in cold storage in the past.



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