ISLAMABAD: The multi-billion-rupee scam in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) took a new turn as its ex-chairman, Ayaz Khan Niazi, claimed that stock brokers from Karachi had also played a key role in the irregular deal. After being flown in from Karachi, Niazi told his interrogators that one of the board members of the NIC, Qasim Amin Dada, had played an important role.
Niazi alleged that Dada helped clear the multi-billion-rupee deal inked with the Warraich family, which is at the centre of this scam. This disclosure comes in the backdrop of news that pressure is being exerted on the FIA to stop its manhunt for Dada, believed to be hiding in Karachi.
The former board member has been declared an absconder by the FIA in the multi-billion-rupee land scam. The case is being probed on the orders of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. The Chief Justice had intervened in the last hearing of the case to ensure the handing over of Ayaz Khan Niazi to FIA Lahore for investigation.
Niazi was also questioned about the role of the scions of two political leaders who are believed to be shielding one of the accused persons in the case. But Niazi refused to spill the beans.
However, the change of air from Karachi to Lahore made Niazi talk more openly about some Karachi-based brokers who worked through Qasim Dada. Two recent attempts to arrest Dada have so far failed. His house was raided by an FIA team in Karachi after Dada’s name surfaced as one of the key players in the deal.
Niazi told the FIA that it was Qasim Amin Dada who had convinced the NIC board members to sign two deals with Habib Warraich and his son Mohsin Warraich to purchase 803 kanals of land in Lahore for Rs2 billion against their actual market price of a few million rupees.
Niazi recalled that Amin Dada had not only given a briefing to board members to make them fall in line and subsequently clear the two dirty deals, but he had also put his own signatures on three official papers that were connected to this transaction.
The statement of Ayaz Niazi about the active role of Qasim Amin Dada was further substantiated when it was revealed that surprisingly Amin Dada was the only board member, who had signed three official papers otherwise the rest of the members had signed only one paper to clear the two land deals.
Meanwhile, the FIA has sent a letter to the British government to freeze the bank accounts of principal accused Mohsin Warraich who is living in London, along with a request to repatriate him to Pakistan where he was facing several criminal charges in the NICL land scam.
The British government has sought replies to some questions from the FIA. Mohsin’s British wife Beenish, mother, two sisters and his father are also facing criminal charges.
Talking to The Express Tribune from Dubai before flying to the UK last month, Mohsin Warraich had denied the allegations in the two land deals and had claimed his family was being victimised.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 14th, 2010.