City News

NAB told to bring witnesses in illegal land allotment case

An accountability court on Saturday ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to bring witnesses to depose against the accused in a case pertaining to allegedly illegal allotment of a piece of commercial land in Karachi’s upmarket Clifton neighborhood for constructing a multi-storey building.

The accountability court-III in November, 2020, had indicted Pak Sarzameen Party chairman and former Karachi mayor Mustafa Kamal, former district coordination officer Fazlur Rehman, former executive district officer Iftikhar Qaimkhani, former district officer Mumtaz Haider, former additional district officer Syed Nishat Ali, former Clifton sub-registrar II Nazir Zardari and five builders.

The court had bifurcated the case against another absconding accused.

On Saturday, the attorney for Kamal moved an application in the court seeking exemption for his client from the hearing, which the judge approved, ordering the NAB investigation officer (IO) to provide the accused with the updated copies of the prosecution documents.

The court adjourned the hearing till February 20 and ordered the IO to ensure the presence of the prosecution witnesses on the next hearing so that the trial could proceed with the recording of evidence.

According to the anti-graft watchdog, in 1982, the Karachi Metropolitan Corporation created 198 stalls and shops on two amenity plots adjacent to the Kothari Parade for dislocated hawkers, while four commercial plots, each measuring 255.55 square yards, were also created in the locality.

NAB claimed that real estate developers later purchased four commercial plots and 198 stalls of the hawkers. However, the two amenity plots were never transferred in the builders’ name.

The anti-graft watchdog also claimed that the builders in connivance with then city mayor Kamal and other officials unlawfully got 102 stalls transferred in favour of a real estate development company’s name through a conveyance deed without obtaining the permission of the Karachi Development Authority.

The NAB reference claimed that the price of these stalls was shown in the registration deed to be only Rs260 million, but its market value was assessed at Rs2.155 billion and the forced sale value was adjudged at Rs1.724 billion.

The watchdog claimed that the allegedly absconding builder was the subsequent beneficiary of the amalgamated plot that was illegally transferred in the name of his company in connivance with the main beneficiary and the then Clifton sub-registrar II.

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