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Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme: Top bureaucrats accused in multi-billion-rupee land scam

ISLAMABAD: A preliminary inquiry report of the ministry of housing and works has accused some top bureaucrats of their involvement in the multi-billion rupee land scam in Islamabad’s Zone-4 area.

Federal Minister for Housing and Works Faisal Saleh Hayyat submitted the report before a three-member bench of the apex court regarding the 3,000 kanals land purchase deal to establish the Prime Minister’s Housing Scheme in Margalla Hills National Park area, Zone-4. The Supreme Court (SC) bench was headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and accompanied by Justice Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani.

The preliminary report, conducted by a joint secretary of the housing ministry, revealed that the housing ministry purchased the land in Zone-4 – where sale of land and commercial activities are prohibited – at an exorbitant price of Rs950,000 per kanal from Green Trees, a private land contracting firm, where the price should have been Rs44,000 per kanal. The report also revealed that a top level bureaucrat, who was also member of executive committee that sanctioned the deal, is the brother of the owner of Green Trees.

Hayyat suggested that a thorough inquiry is needed to fix responsibility against top bureaucrats of different ministries involved in the land scam. He asked the chief justice to formulate a commission headed by a retired judge of the apex court to ascertain the facts. The next hearing will be held on June 30.

Meanwhile, the lawyer of Green Trees, Raja Arshad, said that he could reveal a list of names of front men of top politicians and officials of housing ministry who were trying to blackmail officials of Green Trees into giving them their ‘share’ of the multi-million dollar deal. He said that when officials of Green Trees refused to comply, the politicians charged the officials with fake allegations and started highlighted it on the media.

Arshad said that the land purchase deal was transparent and approved by officials of the Capital Development Authority (CDA), “a fact that cannot be refuted”. He said that if housing ministry is dissatisfied with the deal it can revert its decision and give back the land to Green Trees.

The property was allegedly bought by former federal minister for housing Senator Rehmatullah Kakar of JUI-F. The board of directors of Federal Government Employees Housing Foundation constituted an evaluation committee for considering the proposals submitted by different land providers. The committee approved the deal in March 2009.

The layout plan of the scheme was prepared and submitted to the CDA, for which the civic body refused to sanction a “no-objection certificate”.

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