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BoP loan scandal: SC orders transfer of accused’s property before 22nd

ISLAMABAD: Hearing the case of a Rs 9 billion loan scam in the Bank of Punjab, the Supreme Court (SC) on Wednesday issued directives to various private and official representatives to facilitate each other in transfer of seven properties of the main accused, Sheikh Haris, to the purchaser before March 22.

“Needless to observe, the accountability court or the high court or any other court, seized of the matter, shall dispose of the cases of the petitioner independently and without being influenced in any manner from the present proceedings,” said a three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The bench said that the Salvage Committee chairman and representatives of owners and proprietors as well as the Bank of Punjab (BoP) are directed to facilitate each other for effecting transfer before the competent authority.

The Lahore district coordination officer, Lahore Cantonment Board executive officer and Lahore DHA secretary were also directed to extend their full cooperation for transferring the title of properties, including seven plots in DHA Lahore and one building and plot in Lahore Cantt.

The counsel for the owner said he intended to raise objection to the auction because the amount was deposited after the due date and no justification had been offered for not complying with the directions of the Salvage Committee chairman.

The counsel for BoP, Rashdeen Nawaz, told the bench that despite a lapse of considerable time “spreading over a period of about three years”, the trial of Sheikh Muhammad Afzal and others had not yet commenced.

The NAB additional deputy prosecutor general also appeared before the bench. He was directed to proceed with the case pending against Sheikh Afzal and others by holding day-to-day proceedings “without allowing adjournments unless for unavoidable reasons explained before the court”.

Ahmed Owais, the counsel for Sheikh Haris, told the bench that he would sit down with the bank authorities and try to settle the dispute with a mutual understanding. He said that the petitioner had already filed an application for the plea bargain.

Expressing its dismay over the performance of NAB, the court directed its chairman to do the needful in accordance with law before the next hearing. Awais pointed out that his client was being treated discriminately as there were so many other persons who had misappropriated/looted the properties/money belonging to the public but no action had been taken against them by NAB authorities.

The bench directed Awais to furnish such information/details to the NAB additional deputy prosecutor general, enabling him to look into this aspect of the case as well. The bench adjourned the case until March 28.

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