Grade 21 Bureaucrats' Bail Extended in Land Corruption Case
KARACHI: While extending the pre-arrest bail granted to the top bureaucrat of the province, the Sindh High Court on Wednesday exempted him from his personal appearance in court during the hearing of his petition against the National Accountability Bureau for initiating inquiry proceedings against him.
Chief secretary Siddique Memon, a career bureaucrat now in Grade-21, on Aug 26 obtained anticipatory bail in the sum of Rs500,000 after NAB served on him a call-up notice for investigation against him for allegedly allotting six acres in Karachi illegally in 1992 when he was land utilisation secretary.
His counsel barrister Zamir Ghumro contended that the land was allotted in 1992 and regularised in 2008 under the relevant laws. He submitted that the land was neither allotted by the chief secretary nor was regularised by him. He said that Mr Memon was posted as secretary land utilisation and when certain facts came to his knowledge he sent the matter to the lands committee which said it had already regularised the land.
The counsel said the chief secretary was issued a call-up notice under Section 19 read with Section 27 of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 (NAO, 1999), on Aug 24.
He said the contents of the notice were highly defamatory and derogatory as it was mentioned that the competent authority had taken cognisance of an offence committed by the petitioner as ex-secretary land utilisation department.
By way of essential background, he said, the land Sector 52-A, Corridor area, Scheme-33, Karachi East, was allotted for residential/commercial purposes with the approval of the chief minister in favour of Mohammad Ayub, son of Sher Khan, and the first instalment of Rs968,000 was deposited in the National Bank of Pakistan, district council branch, on Oct 13, 1992.
Later, he recalled, all allotments/grants made in violation of the law or ban at the rates lower than the market value from Jan 1, 1985 were cancelled.
However, he said, the cancelled grants were allowed to be regularised by a land committee, headed by a retired judge of the SHC.
At the outset of the hearing on Wednesday, the court asked the NAB prosecutor and the investigation officer about the role of other members of the committee which had regularised the alleged allotments. However, the law and investigation officers could not come up with any satisfactory replies and sought time from the court to furnish their replies.
The bench adjourned the hearing to Oct 8 on the request of the investigation officer.
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