RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench on Wednesday issued fresh notices to real estate tycoon, his son and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairperson on a petition filed by Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) against the bureau’s move of taking over investigations into a property fraud case.

A division bench of the LHC Rawalpindi Bench, comprising Justice Sagheer Ahmed Qadri and Justice Ijaz Ahmed, issued notices to Bahria Town chief executive Malik Riaz Hussain, his son Ali Riaz, and NAB Chairperson Admiral (retd) Faseih Bukhari after Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan, representing the realtor, could not appear before the court.
The division bench asked the respondents — the NAB chairperson, the accountability bureau’s additional director of Rawalpindi and all the accused in the case — to submit their replies on the petition on next hearing on February 15.

On November 21, the NAB chairperson wrote a letter to the anti-corruption watchdog’s Rawalpindi director asking for the transfer of records of the case to the bureau. In a separate application, the NAB chief requested the trial court to transfer the case to an accountability court.

The ACE has maintained that two separate FIRs were registered after numerous mutations were made in the name of Bahria Town transferring 1,401 kanals in the Malikpur Azizal area near Rawat. Two different inquires found the accused not guilty and they had raised no objection over ACE’s jurisdiction. It was only after investigators acted on Supreme Court directions and found the real estate tycoon and his son guilty upon reinvestigation that NAB took over the case.

The controversy over jurisdiction had already led to interim bails for two Bahria Town employees and four others including revenue department officials, all of whom had approached the high court for bail, citing the same disagreement among their grounds for bail.
In their statements to ACE, the owners of the housing society have maintained that they were victims rather than culprits as they paid Rs85 million to purchase the land.

They said they registered a criminal case against the property dealer and the revenue staff after they learnt that fake mutations and transfer documents were prepared.