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Karachi

May 3, 2017

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Sharjeel illegally transferred 11,297 acres in Malir, SHC told

An investigating officer of the anti-graft watchdog told the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday that former provincial information minister Sharjeel Memon had caused losses of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.

The IO said Memon had played an active role with the connivance of other accused from the revenue department and the Malir Development Authority (MDA) in illegal adjustment and consolidation of thousands of acres in Malir.

Filing comments on the former minister’s bail petition, the officer said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken notice of illegal adjustment and consolidation of thousands of acres for multiple dehs despite the top court’s ban on transfer of government land.

The IO denied that the NAB investigation was politically motivated, saying that the probe was authorised strictly in accordance with the law. He added that irrefutable evidence had been collected that established the offence beyond a shadow of a doubt and that the matter of illegal transfer and possession of valuable state land on Super Highway was also pending before the Supreme Court.

He said the NAB inquiry was converted into an investigation in October, and the probe revealed that the petitioner was the local government minister and the MDA’s ex-officio chairman during the commission of the offence.

He added that it had come on record that the petitioner played an active role with the connivance of the other accused in misusing his authority to cause losses of billion of rupees to the national exchequer.

The IO said the inquiry had revealed that 11,297 acres of the unallotted state land was handed over to five employees/relatives of a private builder under the garb of adjustment/exchange and consolidation of the land in violation of the law, and that the revenue and MDA officials, including the petitioner, misused their powers.

He added that a survey revealed that more than 11,000 NA-class state lands were in possession of the private builder, while the rest of the area included passage for the K-IV project and the HT and Sui gas lines.

On behalf of NAB, the officer requested the SHC to dismiss Memon’s petition because he had “not come to court with clean hands”.

After taking the report on record, the court’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Junaid Ghaffar adjourned the hearing until May 11. The court also extended Memon’s interim pre-arrest bail in NAB’s five-billion-rupee corruption reference as well as the land allotment investigation against the former minister until the next date of hearing.

The SHC also directed the Federal Investigation Agency to file comments on the petition of the former minister against placement of his name on the exit control list and adjourned the hearing until May 18.

Memon has maintained that the watchdog booked him in false corruption references without issuing him with any call-up notice or any other information when he was out of the country, and that he was implicated in the Malir land case despite being out of the country.

NAB has accused him, information department officials and representatives of advertising agencies of committing corruption of around Rs5.76 billion while awarding advertisements of the government’s awareness campaigns in the electronic media in 2013. The watchdog is also probing illegal allotment of government land in Malir and allotment of forest land in Hyderabad.

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