Founder Editor Tazeen Akhtar..
ISLAMABAD, May 04 (APP):Supreme Court (SC) on Friday restrained Bahria Town from selling or allotting land in the Bahria Town Karachi project by terming allotment of land to the company by Sindh Government and by Malir Development Authority (MDA) illegal.
A three-member bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan also directed the National Accountability Bureau to file references against responsible for violations.
“We, therefore, request the Chief Justice of Pakistan to constitute a bench for the implementation of this judgment in its letter and spirit,” the verdict said.
The judges said that transactions between the Sindh Government and Bahria Town could be made legal, but the stipulations on these transactions will be established by the SC’s special bench.
The verdict cleared that the government land would go back to the government and the land of Bahria Town exchanged for the government land would go back to Bahria Town.
The judgment stated that Bahria Town scheme no doubt had a dynamic modern design and its layout gave a spectacular look and was also being well organized by its management, but does that mean it should be one of the considerations in overlooking the illegality committed in the transfer of MDA’s land in its favour.
From the voluminous record of MDA placed on record it is established that no board meeting of MDA was held in which decision was taken as to what land from its controlled area was to be handed over to Bahria Town for its scheme, what to
speak of settling the terms and conditions on which it was to be handed over, it added.
It is for this reason that no site plan was prepared to show on what date, how much land, from which Dehs and with what boundaries was being handed over by MDA to Bahria Town.
Presently Bahria was in occupation of 12,157 acres in the above referred five notified Dehs which MDA had acquired from Board of Revenue at concessional rates for launching its own schemes.
The apex court maintained “It is really astounding that Bahria first occupied most valuable land available in MDA’s controlled area without any legal process and straight away launched its scheme and later requested MDA to exchange the land under its occupation for several parcels of land which Bahria at its own convenience had purchased through its agents in far off scattered locations of 39 Dehs and MDA and Government of Sindh bent backwards in obliging it and quietly abandoned the launch of MDA’s housing schemes on such land. Bahria may have the reputation of being one of the leading property developers of Asia, but then it should do its business on legitimately acquired land”.
“Since a great deal of work has been done by the Bahria Town and a third-party interest has been created in favour of hundreds of allotees, the land could be granted to the Bahria Town afresh by the Board of Revenue under the provisions of COGLA 1912.”
“What would be the terms and conditions of grant, what would be the price of the land, whether it would be the one at which the Bahria Town sold the land to the people by and large, how much of government land and how much of the private land has been utilized by the Bahria Town, and what Bahria Town was entitled to receive in terms of money on account of development of the land are the questions to be determined by the implementation bench of this court.”
“Bahria Town shall not sell any plot, built-up unit, apartment etc after the announcement of this judgment. Any allotment made after the announcement of this judgment shall be void,” the court ordered.
“The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) shall pick up the thread from where it left and take its investigation to its logical end.
The investigation report which was submitted in the Court and sealed under its order may now be collected for further action. “The investigation be completed within a period of three months from the date of announcement of this judgment and a reference be filed in the Accountability Court against all those who are found responsible for causing loss to the state exchequer,” the court ruled.
“We have been told that government land has also been allotted to DHA and many other societies on cheaper rates as compared to the rates in this case. If so, we would request the Honourable Chief Justice of Pakistan to take Suo Moto action in this behalf so that like be treated alike.
Bahria Town administration has refused to issue any statements in this regard. Here it is worth mentioning that Bahria Town remained under strict watch and accountability in different regimes but every time survived the allegations and declared clear.