The Sindh High Court (SHC) directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday to complete the inquiry in the case pertaining to china-cutting and illegal sale of the Karachi Water and Sewerage Board’s (KWSB) land in Gulistan-e-Jauhar within four weeks.
A two-member bench headed by SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh and Justice Omar Sial heard the bail pleas filed by Faisal Masroor Siddiqui, government officials and other accused in the case.
The NAB prosecutor maintained that Karachi Metropolitan Corporation (KMC) had allotted the Sindh government’s land.
“They come to court and plead innocent but in actuality, they would sell off graveyards as well if they had the opportunity to do so,” remarked CJ Shaikh.
“Millions of rupees are found in the account of a gola ganda [ice cones] vendor. The time is not far when even land for graves will not be available in this city,” he added.
The counsels for the accused maintained that the land case is also facing delays.
“Every plot involving irregularities has a civil suit. The cases also have stay orders and don’t proceed for two years,” said the CJ.
The court directed NAB to complete the inquiry in four weeks and adjourned the hearing till September 26.
According to NAB, the accused, including officials of the Karachi Development Authority, were involved in China cutting of plots in Gulistan-e-Jauhar on the orders of Ahsan alias Chunnu Mamo. The reference against Chunnu Mamo’s front man, Faisal Masroor Siddiqui, and others has been filed.
Corruption in food dept
The same bench directed NAB to submit a report after filing the reference against accused allegedly involved in the corruption case of food department projects in Larkana, Sukkur and Hyderabad within five weeks.
CJ Shaikh expressed annoyance with NAB officials for delaying the inquiry since 2016. The NAB additional prosecutor-general maintained that the inquiry has been completed and the case has been sent to the NAB headquarters for approval.
“The report should be submitted whether or not approval is issued. If NAB doesn’t act according to law, it should do away with its standard operating procedures (SOP),” said the CJ.
“There is a lot of work load at NAB that is why the inquiry had delays,” said the NAB additional prosecutor-general.
“Then why does NAB get involved in every matter?” asked CJ Shaikh.
“Grant us an extension of four weeks and we will file the reference,” said the NAB additional prosecutor-general.
“NAB frees people in a single day when it wants to and takes several years for inquiries when it wants to make people suffer,” remarked CJ Shaikh.
The investigation officer (IO) said that the case has been facing delays since 2016 and NAB officials don’t do anything in this regard.
The court extended the bails of accused, Salim Jahangir and Yar Muhammad, till September 25 while directing NAB officials to file the reference and submit a report within five weeks.
Meanwhile, the bench also expressed annoyance with NAB Sukkur while hearing the case pertaining to corruption in the distribution of sacks for wheat stock and supplies. The bench summoned NAB Sukkur director-general with the complete record of the investigation.
“The food inspector is not the only one responsible for the shortage of wheat supply in the province,” remarked CJ Shaikh while expressing annoyance with NAB Sukkur. “Hasn’t the name of any MPA or MNA surfaced during NAB’s investigation? Don’t you have the copy of accused, Allah Bachaya’s, statement?” he asked.
The CJ threw the copy of the statement presented by the IO. “Are you an investigation officer? Who appointed you as the IO? Where is the case officer?” asked CJ Shaikh.
However, Case Officer Fazal Hadi also failed to satisfy the court.
“You don’t know anything. The court sought a report on the shortage of wheat and you are submitting a report about stocks,” remarked CJ Shaikh.
The CJ summoned NAB Sukkur DG with the complete investigation report. The court adjourned the hearing for two weeks.
NAB has been investigating the distribution of sacks of wheat supplies and wheat shortage during 2017 and 2018 in Sindh.