Pak NAB may send to anti-graft court case involving Generals



Islamabad: Pakistan's main anti-graft agency may send the case of three retired Generals and two civilian officers, accused of irregularities in the leasing of railways land to a golf club that caused loss of over Rs 16 billion, to an anti-corruption court for initiating criminal proceedings.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) is giving final touches to the case before it is likely to be sent to an "accountability" or anti-corruption court within the next few days, The News daily reported today, quoting its sources.

The three ex-army officers -- former Railways Chairman Lt Gen Saeedul Zafar, Maj Gen Hamid Hasan Butt and ex-ISI chief Lt Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi -- have been accused of causing loss of over Rs 16 billion to Pakistan Railways by leasing its land to the Royal Palm Golf Club in Lahore at a throwaway price.

NAB's investigating team is analysing statements made by the three generals and two civilian officers of the railways, Khursheed Ahmad Khan and Iqbal Samad Khan, and it is likely that a report based on these statements will be presented to NAB's Executive Board to make a final decision about sending the case to the court.

"It is likely that once we get approval from the Executive Board, the reference would be sent to the court to initiate the criminal proceedings against all the accused," said a senior unnamed official of NAB.

The Public Accounts Committee of Parliament, in a meeting on September 13, had directed NAB to initiate the criminal cases against all the accused in the scam that occurred during the regime of former military ruler Pervez Musharraf. The Generals allegedly leased 103 acres of land for a period of 33 years at a very low price.

The top administration of Pakistan Railways was allegedly involved in the scam and had floated fake tender notices in national newspapers.

The administration illegally included in the deal 41 acres of prime land and enhanced the lease period from 33 years to 49 years without re-tendering. The Public Accounts Committee was also informed that the original contracts between Pakistan Railways and the Royal Palm Golf Club were missing from the Railways Ministry's records.

The action being taken by the Supreme Court and government agencies like NAB against former generals has apparently angered the powerful army.

The Supreme Court recently directed the government to take action against former army chief Gen Mirza Aslam Beg and former ISI chief Lt Gen Asad Durrani for distributing millions of rupees among politicians to "rig" the 1990 elections.

Army chief Gen Ashfaq Parvez Kayani recently issued a strongly-worded statement that acknowledged past mistakes by members of the armed forces but said that no state institution should exceed its constitutional limits.

Though Kayani did not name anyone, analysts concluded that his remarks were aimed at the apex court.

PTI