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ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has made largest recovery in its history by recovering 562 acres of government land, worth Rs 21 billion through a plea bargain in the fake bank accounts case involving former president Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur, and others.

The Accountability Court-I Judge, Muhammad Bashir, has accepted the plea bargain request of Ehsan Ellahi, said the NAB Deputy Prosecutor General, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi.

He said that Ellahi, a resident of house No-A 617 Natha Khan Goth, Karachi, had submitted a plea bargain application on December 2, 2020, under section 25 (b) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999, in the subject case.

Following approval of the NAB chairman, the application has been submitted before the Accountability Court which it has approved, he said.

The application, entitled, investigation against the holders of public office, legal persons and others involved in the fake accounts scam regarding misappropriation of land owned by the government of Sindh and the Pakistan Steel Mills (PSM) by public functionaries of Board of Revenue (BOR) Manzoor Qadir Kaka and other, says that as per findings of investigation 29-14 acres land situated at sector 24-A, Scheme 33, Karachi was exchanged illegally with 562 acres at Bin Qasim, Malir, Karachi, by the supervisory committee on July 23, 2012.

This was done in clear violation of section 10 (4) of the colonization of government land action 1912.

The said section defines tenant as the one who is in possession of the land. In the instant case, Mohammad Yousaf Eidi and Ghulam Hussain Halari, owner of 29-14 acres land applied for exchange of under section -17 of Colonization Act 1912, on the pretext that their land has been encroached.

Thus, in lieu of 29-14 acres a total of 562 acres of prime land of Pakistan Steel Mill and government of Sindh was illegally transferred by the said committee by misusing their authority.

It was revealed during the investigation that illegal exchange was approved by the said committee consisting of senior member BOR namely Shahzer Shamoon (deceased) secretary/member LU namely Ghulam Mustafa Phul, and Deputy Commissioner (DC) Malir namely, Qazi Jaan Mohammad by misusing their authority under the garb of amendment i.e. 11-A in the statement of conditions issued u/s 10 (2) of Colonization of Government Land Act for exchange u/s 17 of the said act and allowed illegal exchange of state land for non-agriculture purposes.

It said that benefit of the above said illegal exchange of government land of 562 acres was given to Ghulam Hussain Hallari and Yousuf Eidhi, who further transferred 262 acres land through registered lease deed to Ehsan Ellahi, in lieu of facilitating the illegal exchange.

300 acres out of 562 acres illegal allotted land has been returned to the government of Sindh through plea bargain from benamidars of Ghulam Hussain Halari and Yousaf Edhi vide Accountability Court order dated October 3, 2019.

According to the NAB, during the investigation, accused Ellahi admitted his guilt and revealed that 262 acres land out of 562 acres which was granted in exchange under 17 of Colonization of Government Land Act 1912 illegally to Yousaf Edhi and Ghulam Halari was transferred in the name of accused, Ehsan Ellahi as director of three companies through registered deeds, and the said illegal gain was derived in lieu of the services provided to facilitate the said exchange.

Ellahi also revealed that out of the said 262 acres 1× piece of land measuring 58 acres situated at Deh Joreji Bin Qasim, Malir, Karachi, was transferred in the name of Al-Aqsa Builders and Developers (Pvt), owned by Ehsan Ellahi.

Subsequently Ellahi exchanged a power of attorney in respect of his land in favour of M/s Al-Asr Builders and Developers through Amanullah Memon son of Mohammad Usman against proceeds of Rs 60 million, which were received as partial payment of total government.

Out of the said proceeds of Rs 60 million, 42 cheques amounting to Rs 34,057,000 were given to Manzoor Qaddir Kaka, director general Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA).

The said amount was given to Mazoor Qadir Kaka DG SBCA as kick back to get No Objection Certificate (NOC) for sale and advertisement from the SBCA for two projects namely Gulistan-e-Hadeed and Malir Industrial terminal on 58 acres and 139 acres land respectively.

It says that investigation revealed that out of the said 43 cheques which were given to Mazoor Kaka as kick back, 40 cheques amounting to Rs31.957 million were deposited in one of the fake account of Umair associate i.e. 1-2-1 20620-714-157355 maintained at the Summit Bank.

Due to various litigations, the deal of above said 58 acres land could not be completed. Out of 262 acres of land received by accused Ellahi remaining 2× pieces of land measuring of 65 acres situation at Deh Joreji Bin Qasim, Malir, Karachi, was held in the name of his company M/s Rising Karachi Builders and Developers and 139 acres situated at Deh Joreji Malir, Karachi, held in the name of his another company M/s Gandhara Enterprises.

The accused, Ellahi admitted that he is in possession of illegal land that is 262 acres as a consequence of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under provision of the NAO-199 and voluntarily offered to surrender the same without any duress and coercion.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021