KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday extended the pre-arrest bail granted to former Sindh local government minister Jam Khan Shoro, accused in the case of illegal auction of 62 government plots in Gulistan-e-Jauhar. A two-member bench, headed by Justice Iqbal Kalhoro, heard the plea.
According to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), three inquiries are in progress against Shoro. NAB had submitted its response on the plea challenging the inquiries. The court asked Shoro's counsel to file comments on NAB's response and extended the bail till December 22.
In 2017, Shoro transferred 62 government plots to his frontman, Oshak Rahojo. The former Karachi Development Authority (KDA) director-general Nasir Abbas has already been arrested in the same case. Auction of the plots caused a loss of Rs180 million to the national exchequer.
Jam Khan Shoro secures bail after NAB issues arrest warrants
Shoro is also accused of taking bribes through his front men in Malir District Municipal Corporation (DMC). The NAB had claimed that former administrator of the DMC, Abdul Rasheed, and Muhammad Anwar are reportedly the front men for Shoro, who used to collect monthly bribes for him.
These men confessed to their crime. The former minister is also accused to have illegally obtained 262 acres of agricultural land in Deh Kohistan in District Thatta. Formal notices for all three inquiries have been sent to Shoro.
Misuse of authority
The same bench also heard the corruption case against former Sindh law minister Ziaul Hassan Lanjar and asked NAB to submit a progress report on the case. The former minister is accused of embezzlement and misuse of authority. According to NAB, Lanjar allegedly had assets beyond his known income.
Lanjar appeared before the court along with his legal assistant, Advocate Shahid Awan, who maintained that the counsel for his client, Farooq H Naek, was on leave.
The court asked for details on the progress of the investigation, to which the investigation officer (IO) said that the inquiry was underway and a report would be submitted after its completion. The court adjourned the hearing till January 17, 2019.
Court grants time for NAB to file reference
Assets exceeding income case
The SHC directed the NAB to submit a progress report against former SP Niaz Khoso who is accused of accumulating assets beyond means of income.
The court also directed the NAB prosecutor to argue on the jurisdiction of the court. A two-member bench held hearing for the NAB inquiry against Khoso.
The former SP was represented by his counsel. The court inquired the whereabouts of the IO and was informed by NAB prosecutor that IO was not present as he belonged to Balochistan. The defence maintained that his client was given a call-up notice from Sukkur, but the case was made in Balochistan.
The court directed the NAB prosecutor to determine the jurisdiction of the case and advised the IO to present a progress report.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 9th, 2018.