Scrap scandal: Railway operations head arrested

Published: March 30, 2012

Minister for Railways Haji Ghulam Ahmad Bilour, former secretary Samiul Haq Khilji also named in corruption cases.

ISLAMABAD / LAHORE: 

In its first high-level crackdown against rampant corruption in Pakistan Railways, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) arrested General Manager Operations Pakistan Railways (PR) Saeed Akhtar on Thursday.

A special cell constituted by NAB investigating corruption cases in PR arrested Akhtar for misuse of authority and alleged involvement in embezzlement worth Rs600 million. He was summoned to the NAB office in Islamabad and taken into custody.

Akhtar had retired earlier this month but was granted a year-long extension by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.

Special cell

The Supreme Court had referred PR’s corruption cases to NAB for further probe earlier this month.

The bureau’s chairman then established a special cell, headed by Director-General Operations Col (retd) Shahzad Bhatti to deal with these cases.

“The special cell found GM Railways guilty in a corruption case worth Rs500 million,” a senior investigator told The Express Tribune.

Investigators have already arrested three employees of PR and suspended 14 others on charges of corruption. Some accused have been released on bail after depositing the embezzled amount, sources added. Officials investigating the encroachment on PR-owned land said that out of a total 5,000 acres of land, 771 acres, amounting to Rs400 billion, has been recovered from 2,000 illegal occupants so far.

Allegations against Akhtar were levelled during investigations of scrap scandal by former controller of stores PR Khalid Mohiuddin.

Sitting Railways minister Ghulam Ahmad Bilour and former secretary railways Samiul Haq Khilji have also been named in the same scandal.

Interestingly, in an official statement issued to media on March 28, NAB said it had shut down inquiries against Akhtar and Khilji due to lack of evidence.

Minister’s involvement

A senior NAB official told The Express Tribune that the cell also established some facts against Bilour.

The bureau, however, is yet to issue arrest-warrants for other officials involved due to pressure mounted by political leaders, the official said.

“Bilour is accused of giving permission for awarding tenders to certain contractors after receiving bribes from them,” the official added.

The minister, however, denied the allegation, saying, “The tenders were awarded on merit. There needs to be a fair inquiry into the scrap scandal.”

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (6)

  • Disco
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:10AM

    These people single-handedly brought down the Railways. Let’s hope they are not relatives of Gillani or Zardari otherwise nothing will come out of this investigation

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  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 30, 2012 - 6:52AM

    Go after the Shepherd, he and the rest are all sheep.

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  • Parvez Amin
    Mar 30, 2012 - 6:55AM

    Well done NAB. Keep going. Try and get the money back and give it to the railways.

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  • Rani
    Mar 30, 2012 - 6:59AM

    as usuall nothing gonna comes out of this only poor people will suffer !!!Recommend

  • Attif Abbas
    Mar 30, 2012 - 10:45AM

    Thats the first corruption case taken by NAB without intervention of SC, looks to be a fight for just distribution of corruption money and soon everyone will be happy except Hussain Haqqaniand Babar Awan.

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  • Saad Shibli Asc
    Mar 30, 2012 - 10:22PM

    Railway corruption is very much minor then rental Power project. Corruption can stop and can bring at Zero level if Pakistani army fully condom the corruption practically. only two step can eliminate the corruption from Pakistan within two month but for this army should support unconditionally. Saad Shibli Asc

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