Land grabbing case: Suddle commission kept waiting for record

ISLAMABAD, Dec 6: The Capital Development Authority (CDA) did not provide relevant record regarding alleged encroachment on 1,200 kanals by Bahria Town to the Shoaib Suddle commission, it has been learnt.

Documents available with Dawn showed that the one-man commission investigating the alleged corruption by Arslan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, had on November 26 taken suo motu notice of a news item regarding alleged grabbing of the CDA land by Bahria Town.

According to the news story, Bahria Town had encroached on the 1,200 kanals worth Rs7 billion near Kurri village and sold the land in its Bahria Enclave scheme launched in July last year.The commission directed the CDA to submit a report regarding retrieval of the grabbed or encroached land by November 30.

On November 30, Barrister Masroor Shah, the chief legal adviser to the civic agency, informed the commission through a letter that submission of the required record was not possible within the deadline. The letter added: “It would not be possible to submit the report within the stipulated time since the relevant record is under scrutiny of the honourable commission headed by Justice (retired) Mohammad Sardar Raza Khan, constituted by Islamabad High Court (IHC) on October 15, 2012.” The CDA requested the Suddle commission to extend the deadline for submission of the record.

Subsequently, the deadline was extended to December 5, whereas the mandate of the commission was to expire on December 6. The CDA, however, did not submit the record to the commission with this deadline.

Interestingly, IHC order of October 15, according to which the Sardar Raza commission was constituted, did not mention the encroachment or grabbing of the 1,200 kanals. This particular matter was not under the scrutiny of the commission either.Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of the IHC, while hearing identical petitions of Niazullah Niazi, Babar Awan and Barrister Zafarullah Khan, had constituted the three-member commission and assigned it the scrutiny of CDA projects, including Monal Restaurant, construction of I.J.P. Road, allotment of a plot to a private firm for construction of a five-star hotel, and the Kuri model village.

Additional sessions judge Pervaizul Qadir Memon, who is also the focal person for the Sardar Raza commission, told Dawn that the commission had not summoned the record related to encroachment/grabbing of 1,200 kanals.

After examining the project, the commission would seek the record of other projects, he added.

Despite repeated attempts, CDA spokesman Ramzan Sajid could not be contacted for comments. Barrister Masroor Shah, the chief legal adviser to the civic agency, said the IHC had also assigned the commission the scrutiny of a road which leads to Bahria Enclave.

He said Sardar Raza commission would require the same documents Suddle commission had sought; therefore, the authority had asked for time for submitting the relevant record.

Justice (retired) Wajihuddin Ahmed, when contacted for comments, said if the record of a particular matter was summoned by more than one commissions, the priority would be given to the commission whose term was going to expire first. He said the Suddle commission was working under a tight deadline and the CDA should have provided it with the required record on a priority basis because its mandate was to expire on December 6.

He said in case CDA had already submitted the record to Sardar Raza commission it could provide the other commission the certified copies of the required record.He, however, said the CDA had shown a casual approach while dealing with the commission constituted by the superior courts, adding the executive might have played an invisible role in this situation