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Lahore

May 17, 2018

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Ahad Cheema’s two co-accused granted bail

Lahore: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday granted bail to two co-accused of former LDA Director General Ahad Khan Cheema in Ashiana Housing Scheme scam case and barred them from travelling abroad until the final decision of the case.

A division bench headed by Justice Ali Baqir Najfi passed the order and directed LDA Chief Engineer Israr Saeed and Punjab Land Development Company Chief Engineer Col (retd) Arif Majeed to deposit Rs 1,000,000 each.

The bench also directed both accused to submit their passports with the National Accountability Bureau. Both accused who had been facing corruption charges were taken into custody by the NAB authorities soon after the arrest of Ahad Khan Cheema who is still with the National Accountability Bureau on physical remand.

On March 29, a NAB prosecutor had told an accountability court that both Israr Saeed and Arif Majeed had become approvers after which both approached the LHC to seek bails. The suspects contended through their counsel that they were dragged in to the case only for complying with the official directions of Mr Cheema, being director general of the LDA. The petitioners asked the court to grant them bail as they were no more required by the bureau.

The NAB authorities had arrested six persons; former LDA DG Ahad Khan Cheema, Bismillah Engineering Company owner Shahid Shafiq, LDA Chief Engineer Israr Saeed, Punjab Land Development Company Chief Engineer Col (retd) Arif Majeed, PLDC former Chief Executive Officer Imtiaz Haider and PLDC official Bilal Qudwai; for their alleged involvement in Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme scam.

Ahad Khan Cheema was arrested last month on charges of misusing his authority and, with criminal intent, processing and awarding Ashiana-e-lqbal project contract worth Rs14 billion to Lahore CASA Developers, a joint venture firm which was ineligible for the same.

The contract, in connivance with other accused persons, was awarded in violation of PPP Act, 2014. NAB inquiry further revealed that Bismillah Engineering Services Co (a major shareholder of JV titled Lahore CASA Developers) was a proxy firm working on behalf of Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd.

Cheema allegedly received illegal gratification in the form of 32 kanals of land (valuing Rs30.09 million approximately from the owners of Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd. Railways hiring case: Justice Shamas Mehmood Mirza of Lahore High Court on Wednesday directed the Railways Ministry and the auditor general of Pakistan to produce the audit report regarding alleged illegal recruitments that took place in the ministry in 2013.

The judge had issued notices during the previous hearings to the auditor general of Pakistan and the Ministry of Railways but the order was not complied with. Granting them the last opportunity, the judge now directed the authorities to appear on May 28.

Petitioner counsel Sheraz Zaka alleged that illegal appointments were made in the Ministry of Railways with respect to various positions in the law and finance departments of railways. He said that the appointments were made due to political influence and nepotism in March 2013 when the Election Commission of Pakistan had notified that no new appointments in the ministry be made as elections were going to take place in May 2013.

He submitted the appointees were exercising their powers illegally and had become a burden on taxpayers’ money. He pointed out that the audit report of the auditor general of Pakistan also stated that the appointments were illegal.

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