KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) gave a last chance to the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation officer to file comments regarding alleged fraud in land acquired for the construction of flats for industrial workers in Karachi.
Headed by Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto, the division bench issued the direction as the NAB additional deputy prosecutor-general, who failed to file comments since the petition was filed in February 2014, made another request for more time to do so.
Ali Sher Mirani, a former deputy district officer of SITE Town, had approached the court against harassment by NAB officials. The petitioner said he was appointed as the land acquiring officer in February 2007 for 134 acres of land in Deh Mahyo, Gadap, Karachi, for the construction of 3,000 flats for industrial workers. The land was subsequently acquired in the Survey Numbers 40, 41, 42, 70, 71, 73, 74, 75, 76, 77, 78, 79, 80, 81, 82, 83, 84, 85, 86, 87, 88, 89, 90 and 91.
He argued that neither did he have any role in acquiring the land nor was he part of the committee formed to select the property for the project. He said the Workers Welfare Board Department later deposited a cheque of Rs523.94 million on June 29, 2007 for the land, without his knowledge.
Mirani said the NAB authorities later initiated an inquiry into the alleged fraud and sent him a call-up notice on December 8, 2011 under Section 19 read with the Section 23 of the NAB Ordinance, 1999.
According to him, being the sole material witness, he submitted his detailed statement to the NAB authorities in this regard but was still harassed and efforts were being made to arrest him.
During Friday’s proceedings, the petitioner, who was granted pre-arrest bail in sum of Rs 1 million in September 2013, appeared and pleaded to the court to restrain the NAB officials from harassing him.
To the court’s query about NAB action, the bureau’s prosecutor, Noor Muhammad Dayo, requested time to file comments. After perusing the case record, the two judges observed that the petition was filed on May 15, 2014 and, ever since, comments have not been filed. “Time is granted, as a last chance,” they ordered, adjourning the hearing till December 9 to decide the confirmation of bail before arrest or otherwise.
Published in The Express Tribune, November 21th, 2015.