RAWALPINDI – An Accountability Court (AC) Saturday dropped corruption reference against former Chief Executive (CE) of Bahria Town, Malik Riaz Hussain, and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz in a 1401 kanals of land fraud case.Judge Chaudhry Abdul Haq discharged the property tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz in land fraud case and set March 14, 2013 the date for indicting the other 13 accused in the land fraud case.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Prosecutor approached AC on 9 February 2013 pleading for dropping fraud and forgery charges against Behria Town former CE Malik Riaz Hussain and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz.NAB Prosecutor, in the application, requested AC No 4 Judge that the investigators had no evidence against his clients accused of purchasing 1401 kanal land near Rawat in 2008 using forged documents and fake identities with the help of their front men and revenue officials.

The land fraud case made headlines in 2008 when the land was transferred in the name of Bahria Town owners who paid Rs85 million later it transpired that the transfers were made using forged documents and fake identities depriving the real owners of their land. The case of transfer of 1401 kanals of land at Malikpur Azizal revenue estate in the name of Malik Riaz and his son had a long legal battle as first the case was investigated by Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Rawalpindi later the case was transferred to the NAB authorities, he added. Therefore, the court was requested to drop the charges against his clients. Meanwhile, the court accepted application of Rizwan Patwari (the revenue officer) seeking plea-bargain who offered NAB Rs 23 million for release on plea-bargain.

However, the court observed that Rizwan Patwari despite release on plea-bargain would be treated as convict. AC No 4 deferred the hearing till March 14, 2013 and summoned the other 13 accused for framing charges against them. It is pertinent to mention here that after unearthing the land fraud case involving the property tycoon and his son, Supreme Court of Pakistan (SCP) took suo moto notice ordered the ACE to launch a fresh inquiry into the case.

The investigators in their findings in November 2011 recommended judicial action against 16 men including Behria Town former CE Malik Riaz Hussain, his son and their employees and revenue staff. Later, Behria Town Manager and an accused in the land fraud case Col (retd) Saeed Akhtar submitted an application with NAB asking for transfer of their case as they had no trust in ACE that had carried out one side inquiry. The Special Judge last year transferred the case to the NAB and handed over the judicial proceedings record to the Accountability Court.