The investigation team tasked with probing the illegal allotment of land to Bahria Town Karachi is confident that it has a watertight case against the real estate developer and the individuals who abetted illegal land transfers and swaps for it.
The announcement came in a press release issued soon after the board of the National Accountability Bureau’s Karachi division met today.
Director General Mohammad Altaf Bawany, who chaired the meeting, had called it to review the implementation of the Supreme Court’s orders against Bahria Town in the illegal land acquisition case.
According to the press release, the review was conducted on the orders of the NAB chairman, retired justice Javed Iqbal, to assess the progress of a Supreme Court sanctioned investigation against Bahria Town, Malir Development Authority (MDA) officials and other government functionaries.
The investigation team told the board that its investigation was already complete and that its case has been made “on the basis of irrefutable evidence which establishes that management of Bahria Town in connivance with relevant public office holders and officers / officials of revenue department, district Malir, MDA and the Sindh Building Control Authority took illegal possession of thousands of acres of valuable government land situated on main Super Highway (M9) in violation of the Colonisation of Government Land Act, 1912, the MDA Act, 1993 and the Sindh Building Control Ordinance, 1979.”
A concise statement of the facts of the case has also been submitted to the Supreme Court, the release stated.
The investigating team had reportedly built its case with the help of the Survey of Pakistan and the Ministry of Defence, which helped identify the land which was illegally swapped or transferred.
The DG NAB Karachi has now instructed the investigating team to engage with NAB’s legal team for any further queries and to be prepared for the Supreme Court’s deadline.
On May 4, the Supreme Court, in three hard-hitting verdicts against the real estate empire, had declared the procurement of land by Bahria Town for its housing projects in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Murree null and void, while noting that significant transfers and allotments of land to each project had been done illegally.
The court had subsequently ordered the accountability bureau to file references against the individuals responsible for the transfers and to take action against them within three months.
In each order, the bureau was told pick up the thread from where it left off and take its investigations against Bahria Town to their logical end.
The apex court had barred Bahria Town from selling or allotting land in the Bahria Town Karachi project after declaring that the allotment of land to the company by the Sindh government and a massive land swap with the MDA was done illegally.
“[…] We are constrained to declare that the grant of the land to the MDA, its exchange with the land of Bahria Town and anything done pursuant thereto being against the provisions of COGLA 1912 [Colonization of Government Lands Act, 1912] and statement of conditions are void ab initio and as such have no existence,” the court ruled.
“The government land would go back to the government and the land of Bahria Town exchanged for the government land would go back to Bahria Town,” the court had ordered.