• Summons Saad Rafique and his brother on Oct 16
• Nawaz phrases arrest political victimisation
• Ex-Punjab CM accused of favouritism in housing undertaking
LAHORE: The Nationwide Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Friday arrested Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president Shahbaz Sharif within the Rs14 billion Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing undertaking rip-off, inflicting a blow to the social gathering forward of by-elections.
“Opposition chief within the Nationwide Meeting Shahbaz Sharif reached the NAB workplace at 2:50pm. A mixed investigation crew (CIT) quizzed him for an hour concerning his function in awarding contract to his ‘favorite agency’ in violation of legal guidelines within the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing undertaking in Lahore launched by the Punjab Land Growth Firm (PLDC) in 2013-14 throughout his tenure as chief minister,” a supply informed Daybreak.
Mr Sharif, he stated, was additionally confronted with the assertion of Fawad Hassan Fawad who apparently confessed to NAB that the contract of an organization that certified for it was cancelled at his (Shahbaz’s) behest.
Mr Fawad was implementation secretary to then chief minister Shahbaz Sharif in 2013. Earlier than his arrest this 12 months, Mr Fawad was principal secretary to the prime minister. Shahbaz Sharif’s ‘blue-eyed officer’ former Lahore Growth Authority director basic Ahad Khan Cheema has additionally been in jail on judicial custody on this case.
“Shahbaz Sharif clarified his place and dismissed the allegations on this regard,” the supply stated, including that after an hour’s interrogation the investigators informed Mr Sharif that NAB had sufficient proof to take him into custody for additional investigation into the case. “On this, Mr Sharif expressed his shock,” the supply stated.
Have a look: A timeline of developments within the Ashiana housing ‘rip-off’
NAB later issued an announcement solely declaring “former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif has been arrested within the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing rip-off and he can be introduced earlier than an accountability court docket on Saturday (right this moment)”.
On Daybreak’s question looking for particulars about grounds of his arrest, NAB spokesperson Nawazish Ali Asim stated: “Grounds of arrest can be introduced earlier than the accountability court docket on Saturday.”
Based on an official, Shahbaz Sharif had allegedly cancelled the award of the undertaking’s contract to profitable bidder M/s Chaudhry Latif and Sons and as a substitute obliged M/s Lahore Casa Builders (JV) — a proxy group of M/s Paragon Metropolis (Pvt) Restricted (which is acknowledged to be developed by former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique) — thus inflicting tens of millions of rupees of losses to the exchequer.
“Mr Shahbaz additionally allegedly directed the PLDC to assign the undertaking to the Lahore Growth Authority (LDA), leading to award of contract to Lahore Casa Builders (JV), leading to a lack of Rs715 million and finally failure of the undertaking. Equally, the previous chief minister had additionally directed the PLDC to award consultancy providers of the undertaking to M/s Engineering Consultancy Providers Punjab for Rs192m, whereas the precise value was Rs35m as quoted by Nespak,” he stated.
The official stated Mr Fawad, who has been on judicial remand, had referred to as the undertaking director of Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing scheme to his workplace and ‘threatened’ him with penalties and, beneath the garb of allegations of wrongdoing within the award of the contract to M/s Latif and Sons, pressured him to cancel it.
Lahore Casa Builders proprietor Shahid Shafiq and 4 LDA officers have additionally been in jail on judicial custody on this case.
NAB summons for Khawaja brothers
In a associated growth, NAB additionally summoned the Khawaja brothers of the PML-N — Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique — to look earlier than it on Oct 16.
Saad Rafique is contesting by-poll from NA-131 towards Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf’s Humayun Akhtar.
Punjab Info Minister Fayyazul Hasan Chohan stated the names of the Khawaja brothers had been placed on the Exit Management Record as Paragon Metropolis was a beneficiary of the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal housing undertaking, hinting their arrest. “Extra arrests can be made within the Ashiyana housing rip-off in coming days,” he stated, including that Mr Fawad would turn out to be an approver towards Shahbaz Sharif (on this case).
Saad Rafique stated: “We served the nation and are getting this reward. I warn (Prime Minister) Imran Khan to cease this political witch-hunting as he’ll remorse someday.”
Info Minister Fawad Chaudhry, nevertheless, denied that the names of the Khawaja brothers have been positioned on the ECL. “No choice to put the names of Khawaja Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique has been taken. Nevertheless, the federal government will assist NAB in implementing its order as per legislation,” he tweeted.
NAB had launched investigation into the rip-off in November final. It had received particulars of the contract settlement between the PLDC and M/s Anhui Building Engineering Group owned by director of Paragon Change Ali Sajjad, M/s Bismillah Engineering Firm of CEO of Paragon Metropolis Nadeem Zia and M/s Sparco Group.
NAB probe historical past
NAB initiated the probe after receiving a lot of complaints concerning ‘unlawful deal’ involving 3,000 kanals of land between the PLDC and these corporations. The PLDC had signed an settlement with Bismillah Engineering and Sparco for development of 6,700 flats on 1,000 kanals. In lieu of this development, some 2,000 kanals of the federal government land was to be given to those two corporations. These corporations had been to be given land similar to their development work, whereas your entire piece of land was given in possession of those corporations with out getting any development work carried out.
Based on the Land Disposal Act, a land measuring past five-marla can’t be bought with out public sale. “However on this case gross violation has been dedicated as each corporations had been to deposit 20 per cent of the full worth which they didn’t,” a supply stated.
The Punjab colonies division had additionally particularly maintained that if this land was not utilised for the scheme (Ashiyana-i-Iqbal) it could be surrendered again to the division as the federal government land couldn’t be used for every other function. Solely 200 flats had been reportedly constructed whereas the affected individuals had paid four-year’s installments.
The PML-N termed Shahbaz Sharif’s arrest ‘political victimisation’. A handful of PML-N employees held demonstrations outdoors the NAB workplace at Thokar Niaz Baig and Shahdara, condemning the arrest of their chief.
Ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif stated the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif was regrettable and ridiculous. “Shahbaz Sharif being chief minister had set nice examples of transparency and honesty in all tasks. The PTI is liable for this political victimisation. The PTI ought to be able to reap what it’s sowing right this moment,” the elder Sharif warned.
Nawaz Sharif stated the PTI authorities mustn’t make Shahbaz sufferer of its personal inefficiency. “All know that the PTI authorities is liable for this revenge,” he added.
PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Auranzeb stated NAB had summoned Shahbaz Sharif within the Saaf Pani Firm case however arrested him within the Ashiyana housing rip-off. She stated the PML-N president was arrested “with none proof towards him”. She stated efforts had been made to interrupt the PML-N however it remained united, including that social gathering would announce its protest plan after consulting its allies.
Shahbaz Sharif’s son and opposition chief within the Punjab Meeting Hamza Shahbaz informed a information convention that if this political victimisation continued, the PML-N can be on roads to battle this struggle.
“Earlier than elections PML-N leaders employees are arrested. We had confronted NAB within the Musharraf regime and we’ve braveness to face it in Imran Niazi’s authorities,” he stated, including that his father was arrested within the case through which not a single rupee corruption had been proved.
“We’re sitting within the nationwide and provincial assemblies with a heavy coronary heart,” Mr Hamza stated, including that the Nationwide Meeting’s session had been requisitioned to debate the arrest of Shahbaz Sharif.
Controversy surrounded over Mr Sharif’s arrest with out NAB’s intimation to the Nationwide Meeting speaker. PML-N stated NAB had violated guidelines and arrested a sitting MNA with out approval of the speaker of the meeting.
Nevertheless, NAB claimed that the speaker had been knowledgeable.
Printed , October sixth, 2018