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SC gives NAB two months to complete probe into state land allotment to Bahria Town

SC gives NAB two months to complete probe into state land allotment to Bahria Town

KARACHI: Expressing dissatisfaction over an interim inquiry report of the National Accountability Bureau on the allotment of land to the Bahira Town management by the Malir Development Authority, the Supreme Court on Wednesday directed the National Accountability Bureau to complete its investigation on the matter within two months and file it in court.

A three-member bench of the SC, headed by Justice Amir Hani Muslim, gave the direction while hearing a set of applications against illegal allotment of state land and adjustment of land of 43 Dehs by the MDA.

NAB prosecutor general Waqas Qadeer Dar and investigation officer Qamar Abbas Abbasi filed an interim report submitting that the bureau had not yet been able to complete the inquiry.

After going through the report the court observed that whatever the probe so far made was “not sufficient to address the issues raised by this Court with regard to allotment of land by Government of Sindh to MDA and its subsequent disposal by MDA”.

The court, however, on a request of the NAB chief law officer extended the deadline for completing the inquiry for two months.

The court in its order said that the inquiry must contain answers to whether the Sindh government allotted the state land to the MDA under any legal instrument; whether the possession of allotted land was handed over to the MDA in terms of Section 10 (4) of the Colonization and Disposal of Government Lands (Sindh) Act, 1912; whether the issuance of the notification declaring 43 Dehs as controlled area of the MDA created any title in its favour; whether MDA prepared and issued its master plan after declaring the impugned land to be its controlled area; whether MDA was authorised to exchange private land within its controlled area with the state land; whether MDA handed over possession of 11,000 acres of state land to private land developers and builder which was neither leased out nor handed over by the Sindh government to MDA; whether exchange of about 11,000 acres of the valuable state land located on the Superhighway by MDA with the land of the private persons on the periphery under the garb of exchange and or consolidation scheme was in the interest of the state; whether Baria Town operators owned and possessed land within the limits of district Malir on the date of inviting applications for allotment from public at large for the housing schemes through the media; whether before inviting applications for allotments from public at large, Bahria Town and other private persons got their housing schemes approved from the MDA through the Malir deputy commissioner; and whether Bahria Town or any other land developers were in physical possession of the land in excess of the land given to them by the MDA.

The bench ordered NAB to proceed with the inquiry “in an independent manner without being influenced from any quarter”.

The order said: “The inquiry in addition to other factors shall probe into the questions formulated hereinabove. For such purpose it shall examine entire record, including the revenue record, which shall be provided by the relevant authority (Senior Member Board of Revenue) to the officers of the NAB who are entrusted with the inquiry in the matter.”

The application against the MDA was filed by a civil rights campaigner who stated that the authority was making illegal adjustment of the land to favour the Bahria Town management by purchasing the land at lower prices and transferring it to prime locations of the city.

Published in Dawn, May 26th, 2016

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