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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court hearing multi-billion rupees fake banks accounts case, on Tuesday, granted a 14-day physical remand of three persons, accused of misappropriation in Sindh Tractor subsidy scam.

Accountability Court-I judge Muhammad Bashir granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)14-day physical remand of the accused, Tara Chandh, Sarwar Bhatti, and Altaf Chachar, in the Sindh Tractor Subidy reference.

The NAB had earlier arrested the three accused and then produced them before the court for obtaining their physical remand.

The NAB Prosecutor, Sohail Arif, and Investigating Officer (IO) Waqar Ahmed appeared before the court.

The prosecutor told the court that through fake Computerised National Identity Cards (CNICs), tractors were released in the name of fake farmers and then sold in open market.

He further told the court that the accused, Ghulam Sarwar had obtained 450 tractors and Tara Chand 250 tractors, which incurred millions in losses to the national exchequer.

He requested the court to grant 14 days physical remand of the accused to the NAB.

The defence counsel, while objecting to the NAB’s request, said that all transactions for acquiring tractors have been made through banks.

The allegations leveled by the NAB against the accused were verbal and baseless, he said.

He further said that his client is a dealer and proofs regarding transactions made through fake accounts have not been produced.

The NAB prosecutor provided ground of arrests to the accused to further investigate the accused.

The court approved the NAB’s request and granted 14-day physical remand of the accused.

According to the joint investigation report (JIT) on fake accounts, during the investigation into fake accounts, it was found out that one of the Fake Entities (M/s Iqbal Metals belonging to a deceased sanitary worker) was transacting with Orient Automotive Industries (Pvt) Ltd – a tractor manufacturer of Omni Group.

On this, the JIT landed into the investigation of the associated scam vis-à-vis misappropriation by Omni Group of tractors subsidies offered by the government of Sindh through Sindh Bank.

It says that the Sindh government initiated annual tractor subsidy schemes for poor farmers in the years, 2013 to 2016.

Total subsidies amounting to Rs1996.2 million were given. 51 percent of subsidy amounting to Rs1,021.2 million was dished out to tractors manufacturer of Omni Group (IMT & MTW), through a manipulated (queue jumping) technique of first come, first serve.

The report says that Sindh Bank was primarily used to manipulate the allotment of tractors to farmers in collusion with mainly three dealerships viz Tara Chandh, Sarwar Bhatti, and Altaf Chachar.

These dealers would collect CNIC copies of their own persons, make down payment pay-orders, and deposit with applications to the managers of Sindh Bank prior to the start of the annual scheme, it says.

As per the report, when the annual scheme would be announced, genuine applications were denied on the ground that requisite number of applications has already been received.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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