KARACHI: An accountability court has exonerated 16 people charged with corruption of over Rs284 million allegedly commited through illegal surrender of over 18 acres of Pakistan Post Office Cooperative Housing Society (PPOCHS) land.
The Accountability Court-IV Judge Suresh Kumar pronounced his reserved judgement after recording evidence and hearing final arguments from both sides.
The judge noted that the prosecution failed to prove the charges against the accused, and ordered their acquittal.
The accused included Kamran Nabi Ahmed, the chairman of the society when a suit was filed, Mohammad Jaffar Khan and former honorary secretary along with the management committee members, government officials and private persons — Arif Hussain, Ms Rubina Nafees, Ms Saima Mashkoor, Ms Nagma Sultan, Ms Tahira Sultan, Ms Ishrat Jaffar, Aun Saeed Hashmi, Wali Bhai Momin, Mubarak Ali, Mubarak Ali Rahim, Barkat Ali, Imran Mehdi Memon, Muhammad Akhtar Pathan and Imdad Ali Mughal.
According to the prosecution, the management committee of the society purchased over 64 acres of land in Sectors 25 and 26-A in May 1982 and sale deed was executed in the office of the sub-registrar T-division XII in Karachi from Zehri Khan Gabol through attorney Syed Hayat Shah Kazmi for the consideration of Rs19.079 million.
An agreement of sale was executed between the society and Zehri Khan Gabol under which Rs11.979 million was paid as part payment of the sale consideration and remaining Rs7.1 million was to be paid on the execution of the sale deed.
In year 1989, attorney Mr Kazmi filed a suit against the society for the recovery of Rs4.05 million in the Sindh High Court, which attached the land in question, it mentioned.
The prosecution further mentioned that Syed Hayat Shah Kazmi and Zehri Khan Gabol died and after their death the accused Aun Saeed Hashmi allegedly got attorney from the legal heirs of Mr Kazmi whereas upon the death of the attorney, the power of attorney became infructuous.
It alleged that the then management committee after taking over the charge of the society received a legal notice from accused Aun Saeed Hashmi demanding payment of Rs5,050,000 in Jan 2004 or alternatively the society may surrender land measuring 18-38 acres.
The society allegedly decided to surrender the land of which the market value was Rs133 million against the so-called claim of Rs17 million, the prosecution said.
It added that the then office-bearers of the society decided to surrender the land in favour of Aun Saeed Hashmi and the management committee authorised Kamran Nabi; the then chairman, and Muhammad Jaffar Khan; the then honorary secretary to execute surrender deed in favour of Mr Hashmi and the deed was executed on March 29, 2004.
According to the prosecution, huge amounts through banking channels were allegedly transacted from the accounts of M/s Inaara Enterprises and Mr Hashmi in the personal accounts of Ms Rubina Nafees, Ms Saima Mashkoor and Nafees Nabi Ahmed.
It further alleged that Imdad Ali Mughal, who was posted as the assistant registrar audit (east) in the cooperatives department twisted the facts regarding alleged illegal surrender of the land to Aun Hashmi and discussed the dispute between the then management committee and its rival group, thus deliberately failed to point out that the suit had already been dismissed in favour of the society.
The prosecution further alleged that an investigation established that all the accused persons in connivance with each other illegally surrendered and fraudulently disposed of land of the society in Sector 25-A of the Scheme-33, measuring 18-38 acres, thereby depriving the society from allotting the said land to its members and caused losses to the society to the tune of Rs284.250 million.
The defence counsel for the accused persons Muhammad Ishaque Memon, Imran and Jaleel Ahmed Rahim denied the allegations levelled against their clients by the prosecution and claimed innocence on the part of the accused persons.
They pleaded to the court to acquit their clients in the present case.
On the other hand, special public prosecutor Dr Raja Muhammad Ali contended that the prosecution had sufficient evidence to connect the accused persons with the commissioning of the alleged offence and pleaded to punish them strictly in accordance with the law.
Published in Dawn, October 1st , 2020