LAHORE: The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in Punjab is scheduled to take action against real estate tycoon and Bahria Town chairman Malik Muhammad Riaz, his son Ahmed Ali Riaz Malik, his general manager and eight others in a criminal case involving property measuring 1,401 kanals in Rawalpindi.
On November 4, 2009 the ACE Rawalpindi registered a case (FIR-29) against five persons on charges of corruption and fraudulent transfer of land on fake verification after conducting an inquiry. The accused were identified as Muhammad Rizwan, Muhammad Hussain Gardawar, Chaudhry Muhammad Ashfaq, Malik Tanveer and Milad Bibi. Judicial action was initiated against all the accused and Rizwan, a former patwari, was declared an absconder in the case.
During the trial on December 12, 2010, Justice Ijaz Ahmed of the Lahore High Court, Rawalpindi bench, directed the ACE to conduct a probe and find out who benefited from fake mutations in their names for establishing a housing colony. The investigation was handed over to the deputy director investigation and later to the assistant director investigation Rawalpindi division.
During investigation, it was found that out of the total 18 mutations, one (bearing No 482) was made in the name of Malik Riaz Ahmed, Bahria Town chairman, two (bearing No 496,497) in the name of Ahmed Ali Riaz Malik, the son of the chairman, 11 (bearing diary 221, 212, 524, 530, 529, 508, 512, 513, 521, 522 and 523) were made in the name of Bahria Town employee Muhammad Iqbal, two (527, 528) in the name of Sheikh Sajjidur Rehman and one each (469 and 443) were made in the names of Nasirul Haq and Daldar Hussain, respectively.
According to details, four persons including a woman sold a plot of land measuring 1,401 kanals of Malikpur Azizwal tehsil in Rawalpindi district in connivance with Rizwan. In this deal, the accused in connivance with purchasers and revenue officials deprived the original landowners of billions of rupees because they acquired the transfer and mutation of the land in the names of purchasers on fake entries and forgery in official revenue records.
During the investigation, Akhtar Saeed, the general manager, maintained that Bahria Town paid the owners Rs50 million for the land. Though the land was worth billions Bahria Town purchased it for this sum after allegedly offering huge bribes to revenue officials.
A scrutiny of records and statements of the accused found that the land was fraudulently transferred through forged official revenue records and bogus verification by revenue officials. The ACE in its supplementary statement nominated Malik Riaz Ahmed, his son Ahmed Ali Raiz Malik, Muhammad Iqbal, Sheikh Sajjidur Rehman, Zasirul Haq and Daldar Hussain, Lt Col (retd) Akhtar Saeed, Adnan Bashir Kiyani naib-tehsildar, Muhammad Hussain Gardawar and Nazir Hussain Gardawar accused in the FIR 29/2009.
During the first week of January, ACE Rawalpindi director submitted a request to DG for approval to arrest the accused persons for submission of a fake challan in the matter in court.
This is a test case for the Punjab government and the ACE because heavyweight business personalities are involved.
When contacted, the marketing manager and Bahria Town spokesperson, Nida Zahoor, said that the company was looted fraudulently by revenue officials and some private persons who sold that land to Bahria Town. She said Bahria was deprived of Rs50 million by revenue officials and a case was registered against them.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 18th, 2011.