NAB launches probe into ‘encroachment’ by Bahria Town Karachi

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KARACHI: The officials of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Sindh have formed a Combine Investigation Team (CIT) to probe into allegations that Bahria Town Karachi extended its development work on thousands of acres of land contrary to the Sindh Building Control Authority (SBCA) approval and no-objection certificate (NOC) for development on the area up to 1,330 acres only.

NAB Deputy Director (Coordination) Syeda Rumla Naqvi has issued a call-up notice to the officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority under Section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999, regarding investigation against officers/officials of Revenue Department, Malir Development Authority, government of Sindh, and others and asked it to depute a well-conversant officer not below the rank of a director to appear before the Combined Investigating Team along with justification of the SBCA in writing for not taking any action against Bahria Town Karachi regarding violations of the mandatory provisions of Sindh Building Control Authority Ordinance, 1979 by them and measures for informing the general public to safeguard their investment in the said project by directing Bahria Town Karachi to stop all illegal sale, booking and advertisement activities at once.

The SBCA office letter No 765 dated 5.6.2017 had originally stated that it had given approval and NOC to Bahria Town Project situated on main Super Highway for advertisement/development on the area up to 1,330 acres only, whereas the rest of the development on thousands of acres, including constant media publicity/advertisement, were against the Sindh Building Control Authority Ordinance, 1979. As per the demarcation map provided by the Survey of Pakistan vide dated 20.7. 2016, total area under possession of Bahria Town Karachi is 12,156 acres.

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The National Accountability Bureau warned the SBCA DG in the notice that if it failed to comply with the notice, it would have to face penal consequences as provided under the law.

According to the sources in the NAB, the Bahria Town purchased 7,000 acres of land at low rate from Rs 30,000 to Rs 50,000 and in some places at the rate of Rs 500,000 in different parts/dehs (mozahs) of Malir, Karachi, and got precious land exchanged/consolidated against the settled laws of the government of Sindh on Super Highway, where the rate of land was Rs 5 million per acre.

Bahria Town after getting illegal favour of exchanging the land also occupied more than 40,000 acres in the same area illegally with the help of Sindh government officials on the directions of political high-ups of the ruling party in Sindh.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Sindh also started inquiring the matter, and in this regard Deputy Director Muhammad Rizwan had written a letter to former chief secretary Muhammad Siddique Memon, asking him to submit the information how the land was exchanged and under what laws.

NAB Deputy Director (Coordination) Syeda Rumla Naqvi has issued a call-up notice to the officials of the Sindh Building Control Authority under Section 19 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999

According to details, after exchanging the state land with Bahria Town, the Malir deputy commissioner, illegally and unlawfully violating the laws of the Sindh Land Accusation Act, 1967, and without any payment, allowed Malir Development Authority (MDA) to get the physical survey and preparation of road network at the site of Bahria Town, Karachi.

Sindh Buildings Control Authority Director General Manzoor Qadir Kaka (who is also absconder and had fled the country on the charges of corruption) bypassing the Supreme Court orders and without having any allotment, lease deeds or sale deeds, issued all necessary permission and approved maps, site plans, layout plans through a letter SBCA/Dir/(D)/2013/023 without mentioning the date of issuance of the said letter to Bahria Town. The administration of Bahria Town, on behalf of that letter and permissions, published an advertisement in leading newspapers of country and collected token amount from the innocent public to the tune of trillions of rupees.

According documentary evidence, the Sindh government earlier handed over 43 dehs of land (deh is the small unit of land in revenue record) of District Malir and District West to Malir Development Authority (MDA) irregularly on December 26 vide notification No PS/SMBR/BOR/KAR/430 only to accommodate Bahria Town.

The MDA after getting the said land accommodated Bahria Town by consolidating and adjusting other low-cost lands of Bahria Town, even agriculture lands which were purchased at other places at very low rates.

According to the rules, when any authority has to consolidate the lands, it has to obtain consent from the Sindh Board of Revenue. The authority has to also verify the cost of land and no precious land could be exchanged with low-cost land, but in this case, no legal necessary process was obtained, which caused heavy loss of billions of rupees to the government coffers.