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Court okays plea bargain in plot sale case

Court okays plea bargain in plot sale case

PESHAWAR: A local accountability court on Monday approved the plea bargain of four suspects, including a noted pulmonologist and Peshawar TB Association president, and ordered their release in a case about the illegal sale of a precious plot allotted to the association by the government.

The judge, Zarqesh Sani, issued the order after a prosecutor of National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Mohammad Riaz Mohmand, said the bureau’s chairman had accepted the applications of plea bargain of the four suspects and referred the case to the court for approval.

The suspects, including Peshawar TB Association president Dr Iqbal Safi, vice president Haji Riaz Bacha, lawyer Shahzad Zahoor and property dealer Fakharuddin, were arrested on April 2 by the NAB Khyber Pakhtunkhwa over involvement in the illegal sale of precious plot allotted to the TB association in violation of the ‘codal formalities’ and thus, causing a huge loss to the government kitty.

Through plea bargain, Dr Iqbal Safi agreed to return Rs4.112 million, Haji Riaz Rs5.658 million, Shehzad Zahoor Rs1.886 million and Fakhruddin Rs1.886 million.

The NAB alleged that during inquiry, it was found that two plots, one measuring four kanals and five marlas and the other five kanals and eight marlas, were allotted to the TB association on concessional rates.

It alleged that the plots were allotted to the TB association on the condition that the property, in question, would not used for any purpose other than the one for which its transfer had been sanctioned and that the property would not be transferred in any manner.

However, one plot was allegedly used for clinic, while a vocational centre/marriage hall was built on the other in violation of rules. The NAB alleged that one plot was later sold illegally by the TB association.

REMANDED IN CUSTODY: The court also remanded former Fata Disaster Management Authority director general Arshad Khan and assistant director Irfanullah Khan in the NAB custody for eight more days in a case of alleged embezzlement of millions of rupees on account of payment of compensation for conflict-damaged properties in Mohmand Agency.

Suspect Arshad Khan, currently serving as additional secretary at the provincial home department, was arrested on April 3, whereas Irfanullah was taken into custody few days earlier. Earlier, they were remanded into the custody of NAB for 10 days each and after completion of their physical custody, they were produced before the court on Monday.

Prosecutor Riaz Mohmand said the federal government had announced compensation to the victims of Mohmand and Bajaur tribal agencies to the tune of Rs160,000 for partially damaged houses and Rs400,000 for complete damaged house. He added that during the course of inquiry it was revealed that the suspect Arshad Khan, being FDMA’s DG in connivance with others managed to embezzled millions of rupees in compensations payment meant for the victims of terrorism after operation in Mohmand Agency. The prosecutor said investigation had still been in progress and for that purpose they needed further custody of the two suspects.

The NAB alleged that the two embezzled Rs60 million compensation money.

Published in Dawn, April 14th, 2015

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