ISLAMABAD: Hussain Asghar, who retired from the post of director general of the Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab last week, has defended his actions against Lahore Development Authority (LDA), whose officials are facing a tough time due to their alleged corrupt practices.
In a detailed reply submitted with the Supreme Court on Tuesday, Asghar stated that the ACE was functioning within the parameters of the law with a view to curbing the tendency of corruption and corrupt practices prevalent in society. In this regard, no officer has been harassed or maligned.
Likewise, ACE always encourages departments to play their role in combating corruption and identifying the black sheep in their respective departments.
The reply contends that inquiry be initiated against officers of local government or development authorities in Punjab with regard to their schedule of offences. Likewise, the department has jurisdiction when the said offences are committed by police servants and their abettors.
It is also stated that the officers of local governments and development authorities of Punjab collect commercialisation fee, land conversion fee, map fee etc. If these officials do not get such fees, they violate the law by causing loss to the state exchequer.
With regard to the present case about the harassment of Lahore mayor and LDA DG, the reply states that an inquiry was initiated against LDA officials on the allegations that they got started construction of a cricket stadium at Jubilee Town Lahore without observing the codal formalities of law and committed seven illegalities.
The venue was changed from central park to stadium without obtaining prior permission of the concerned authorities. The alleged land was handed over to a private entity Park Lions Cricket Club in violation of rules.
“A loss of approximately Rs600 million was sustained by the government by including land of 16 kanals into the said scheme without approval. No tendering process was observed and more than 40 per cent of construction at the site has been completed without adhering to the codal formalities.”
The reply states that the government exchequer also sustained a loss of more than Rs2 billion at the hands of the LDA officials and others helping the private unregistered cricket academy to encroach upon 54 kanals of government land.
As a consequence of inquiry, the allegations prima facie were established against the respondents. An FIR has been registered against the accused persons – DG Housing Zareef Iqbal Satti, LDA Director Inam and Park Lions Cricket Academy CEO.
The reply also informed that the LDA officials did not cooperate with ACE during the investigation.
Likewise, another inquiry was initiated against Dream Land Housing Society for encroaching upon 22 kanals of state land worth approximately Rs550 million. A case has been registered against Dream Land Housing Society Director Ghulam Mutafa Hussain as well as LDA officials Shakeel Minhas and Muzammal Ishtiaq.
The reply clarified that ACE never interfered in the work of MCL as ACE Lahore region had already refused to be a part of any committee as it had to initiate criminal proceedings against TMA officials indulged in corrupt practices.
Asghar referred to Section 5 of Punjab ACE Ordinance, which defines that no suit of legal proceedings shall lie against the government or the DG or any officer or member of ACE in respect of anything in good faith done or intended to be done under this ordinance.
He submitted that he could not even think of disobeying any direction of the apex court; therefore, the contempt petition against him be dismissed.
A three-judge bench, headed by Justice Amat Saeed, will resume the hearing of the case today (Wednesday).