Pakistan News

Intelligence Bureau’s housing society challenges FIA probe into its affairs

ISLAMABAD: The Intelligence Bureau’s (IB) housing society has challenged a probe being conducted by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) into allegations of tax evasion, illegal expansion and commercialisation.

Chief Justice Athar Minallah of the Islamabad High Court took up on Monday a petition filed by the Intelligence Bureau Employees Cooperative Housing Society (IBECHS) challenging a call-up notice issued to the society’s management committee. The chief justice issued notices to all the parties concerned.

The FIA had stated in its call-up notice served on the IBECHS: “This agency is conducting criminal inquiries against cooperative housing societies (CHS) in compliance to the orders of the Supreme Court to probe serious violations of law and rules committed by CHS, tax evasion, illegal extension, illegal commercialisation and violations of layout plan and hence allegedly causing huge monetary loss to the national and provincial exchequer.”

The agency served notices on the IBECHS on September 7, 16 and 21.

Through the last notice, the FIA asked the housing society to submit, by Oct 4, details of “revenue generated through transfer of plots and subsequent deposit in national exchequer” as well as “ground verifications in line with layout plans and other illegalities/irregularities”.

But Sardar Taimoor Aslam, the society’s counsel, argued during Monday’s hearing that the FIA had already wound up an inquiry into the IB housing society’s affairs after carrying out an extensive investigation on the Supreme Court’s orders.

According to the FIA’s report on forensic audit of 279 housing societies, placed before the Supreme Court in a suo motu case, 38 are in the federal capital and have been recommended for further inquiry; in Punjab Zone-I 16 societies have been recommended for probe while the number for Zone-II is nine.

In Sindh Zone-I there are 164 societies in the grey list while the figure for Zone-II is 41.

Only one entity has been recommended for further probe in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa while 10 societies are on the list in Balochistan.

The FIA has sought approval from the Supreme Court for a set of recommendations it has prepared to regulate private housing societies. These include the setting up of a committee comprising all registrars of provincial cooperatives departments, representatives of provincial law departments and a representative of the federal law ministry.

The agency proposed the committee be tasked with reviewing the laws regulating cooperative societies and suggest amendments.

The court directed the deputy attorney general to apprise it about the progress on preparation of a revised master plan for the capital.

Published in Dawn, October 19th, 2021

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