RAWALPINDI: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday suspended National Accountability Bureau (NAB) orders seeking possession of the land scam record from Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Rawalpindi.

A two-member bench of the LHC shunned the orders of the NAB chairman issued on December 12, in which he had asked Rawalpindi ACE director and deputy director to appear before the bureau on December 16 and hand over records of the land scam involving owners of Bahria Town housing society.

Justice Sagheer Ahmed Qadri and Justice Mazhar Iqbal Sindhu also directed NAB authorities to respond to the petition filed by the ACE by December 22, in which the establishment had challenged the bureau’s move to take over the case.

The decision was taken after Punjab ACE Director General filed a miscellaneous petition with the court on Monday asking the court to suspend the order of the NAB chairman till the final decision of the pending petition.

Punjab Additional Advocate General Sadaqat Ali Khan told the court that NAB authorities have been harassing ACE officials and unlawfully impeding the investigations into the case, in which Bahria Town administration, including its chairman Malik Riaz Hussain and his son chief executive Ahmed Ali Riaz , were accused of acquiring 1,401 kanals of land near Rawat on fake identities and forged documents.

In the latest inquiry, ACE had found owners of the private housing society guilty of depriving the residents of Malikpur Azizal near Rawat of their land.

However, on November 21 the NAB chairman sent a notification to ACE Director to transfer the case to the bureau and also requested the trial court to transfer the case to the accountability court in Rawalpindi.

Meanwhile, owners of the housing society maintain they are victims in the case and not the culprits, as they paid Rs85 million to purchase the land and registered criminal cases against the property dealer and the revenue staff of the housing society after they learnt that the land mutations were fraudulent.