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Land fraud case: LHC reserves judgment in jurisdiction pleas

September 14, 2012

RAWALPINDI, Sept 14: Lahore High Court (LHC)’s Rawalpindi registry on Friday reserved its judgment on petitions of two investigation agencies claiming jurisdiction over a land fraud case in which property tycoon Malik Riaz is also allegedly involved.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab have claimed jurisdiction over the case involving 1,401 kanals of land near Rawat.

Prosecutor General Punjab Sadaqat Ali Khan, representing the ACE, maintained that the ACE had started its investigation in February 2009 and conducted four inquiries.

He said in its earlier inquiries the ACE had exonerated the property tycoon, his son and senior officials of Bahria Town but last year on the directive of the Supreme Court the director general ACE constituted a four-member team to investigate the matter, which nominated Malik Riaz, his son Ali Riaz as well as 14 other influential persons as accused in the case.

He said an anti-corruption court in Rawalpindi in October last year issued warrants for the arrest of the tycoon, his son and other accused persons.

Malik Riaz filed a petition with the LHC for the quashment of the inquiry but when the court summoned him to appear in person he moved the Supreme Court.

The apex court while granting Malik Riaz interim bail directed him to appear before the trial court but he did not appear and also withdrew the petition from the LHC, he added.

In the meanwhile, Mr Khan added, Fasih Bokhari took charge as chairman of NAB and ordered transfer of the case without completing necessary formalities.

He said NAB also made the honest investigation officer of the ACE as an accused in the fraud case.

Prosecutor General NAB K. K. Agha denied the allegation leveled against the chairman NAB and said the bureau had found the land fraud case pertinent to be transferred because the revenue officials had apparently misused their authorities.

According to him, the ACE was not conducting a transparent investigation into the matter and after receiving a complaint from Saeed Akhtar, one of the accused in the land fraud case, the competent authority had decided to transfer the case to the NAB court.

Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, the counsel for Malik Riaz, told the court that his client was a victim, not a beneficiary of the land fraud case.

He said some private persons had taken Rs150 million from his client for the land but they transferred it to Bahria Town on forged documents.

“My client also registered an FIR against these persons with the police station of Koral,” he added.

He said an official of Bahria Town had requested NAB for the transfer of the case because he was not sure of getting justice from ACE.

The court would announce its judgment before September 20, the deadline set by the Supreme Court for the decision on the case.