SC gives NAB three months to conclude China-cutting reference

Tribune

KARACHI:

The Supreme Court (SC) rejected on Friday the bail plea of Karachi Development Authority (KDA) Deputy Director Syed Atif Hussain Naqvi, while directing the National Accountability Bureau to wrap up the reference against China-cutting on amenity plots.

A two-member bench, comprising Justice Gulzar Ahmed and Justice Sajjad Ali Shah, was hearing the bail plea of the accused at the SC’s Karachi Registry. Justice Ahmed remarked that the accused does not deserve any concession after what he had done to Karachi. Meanwhile, Justice Shah remarked that a five-member bench had already ruled that that there was no concept of bail in the NAB cases.

As the hearing started, the NAB prosecutor argued against granting bail to Naqvi, saying he and other KDA officials were involved in China-cutting in Gulistan-e-Jauhar Scheme 36. “They sold out amenity plots for houses to be built on them,” said the NAB prosecutor.

The court expressed annoyance over the absence of the witness. Justice Ahmed remarked that everyone was aware of what was going on in the NAB. “What happens in the NAB courts?” he questioned. “Why are we receiving these cases?” The court asked the investigation officer why the reference was facing delays. The investigation officer said that some of the accused had been evading arrests, but now all of them had been arrested.

Ownership dispute

The same bench ordered the Karachi Commissioner to inquire about the ownership of Moosa Building, located on Akbar Road. The bench was hearing a case related to a dispute over the ownership of Moosa Building. Irfan, who claims ownership of the said building, told the court that he had bought it in 2010. “This building was leased in 2015 with my fake signature and NIC,” he told the court. “There are 33 residential apartments and 18 shops in the building,” he said, adding that the subordinate courts had also given verdicts in his favour.

As the hearing was going on, the court restricted the petitioners and people claiming ownership of the building from leaving the courtroom. During this time, the court sent the deputy registrar and additional advocate-general to visit the building. Subsequently, the court ordered for an inquiry after the deputy registrar submitted his report.

The report states that the building is owned by the Evacuee Trust Property Board (ETPB), which is why further inquiry was required. Justice Ahmed remarked that it should be find out whether the building belonged to the government or the ETPB.

The court ordered the Karachi Commissioner to inquire about the building’s ownership and submit a report within three weeks. The court also restricted the petitioners from vacating the building. The petitioners had earlier been told to vacate the building.

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