Another loses life behind bars
LDA ‘innocent’ deputy director dies of liver cancer
NAB opposes bail plea to justify arrest
By M J Hayat
LAHORE: After University of Sargodha (UoF) Professor Mian Javed, now an ‘innocent,’ Lahore Development Authority (LDA) Deputy Director, who himself was a victim of a well-contrived plot of embezzlement in millions of rupees commercialisation fee, died of liver cancer behind the bars helplessly as the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in order to justify arrest had not let him succeed in getting his bail at all forums, Daily The Business has learnt.
LDA Deputy Director, Muhammad Salim died on Monday and his dead body handed over to the family after much-delayed autopsy later Tuesday in the evening. A deep sense of resentment has prevailed among the officers of the LDA following they heard about the sad demise of the deputy director.
Most of fake entries in system were made by Sohail Iqbal and Mehmood Mairaj in Revenue Directorate while others were done in Finance Directorate by Usman Lateef.
According to the LDA sources Muhammad Salim was ‘innocent’ and he himself was a victim of the corruption scam of Rs160 million as he was trapped. They said that the NAB was also mindful of the fact that Salim was ‘innocent’ but the NAB officials were insisting him for plea bargain but Salim was not ready as this would have confirmed his involvement in the fraud.
The sources said that NAB to show efficiency and justify the arrest opposed the bail plea of
Muhammad Salim. Had Salim been released on bail he may not have died of cancer as the family could have provided him with better healthcare facilities, they added.
The departmental inquiry committee findings have also shown non-involvement of Deputy Director Muhammad Salim.
The inquiry committee findings stated that after the deposit of course payments in the bank against the demand notices issued by the Revenue Directorate, the details of all the deposits was used to be communicated to the Finance Directorate, by the bank, in the form of scroll.
The findings said that that the entries were made in the general ledger by the Computer Section of the Finance Directorate. The hard copy of the list of entries was sent to the book section of the Finance Directorate and the soft copy was sent to the Revenue Directorate through E-mail, USB or shared drive, the findings added.
The transaction file was copied on all the computers of the Revenue Directorate. Most of the fake entries in the system were made by Sohail Iqbal and Mehmood Mairaj in the Revenue Directorate while some of the fake entries were made in the Finance Directorate by Usman Lateef, the findings said.
The files that were uploaded in the computer system of Muhammad Salim, Deputy Director Revenue contained the fake entries and he used to verify the deposit of payments on the basis of data available in his computer system (that was uploaded in his computer by the computer section of Revenue Directorate), the report said.
Mahmood Mairaj and Sohail Iqbal were the main persons who, being in the revenue directorate, managed the verification of payments that were not deposited in LDA exchequer. Malik Ghulam Asghar, Qurban Ali Naeem, Asim Nauman Dar, Nabeel Ahmad and Usman Farooq used to be in contact directly or indirectly, with the property owners, the report disclosed.
It is also noteworthy that the inquiry committee also passed no recommendation of any action against Muhammad Salim instead the strict disciplinary action under the Punjab Employees Efficiency, Discipline and Accountability Act 2006 (PEEDA Act 2006) was recommended to be taken against Malik Ghulam Asghar, Sohail Iqbal, Mehmood Meraj, Qurban Ali Naeem, Asim Nauman Dar, Usman Lateef, Nabeel Ahmed and Usman Farooq.
The case may be referred to the NAB for criminal proceedings against the delinquent Officers/Officials and any other individuals involved in the fraud, the committee recommended, adding that caution may be marked upon property numbers 161 Block R-II Johar Town and 969-A Block J LDA Avenue-I currently lying in the name of Malik Amanat Ali (Father of Sohail Iqbal and Haseeb, nephew of Mehmood Meraj).
“Legal action may also be taken for recovery through these properties. Recovery from the property owners of properties identified during the sifting of record be effected. The names of any other individual(s) involved in the fraud would also surface, once the property owners are contacted,” it was said.
The procedure for data entry and verification of deposits may be revised immediately and it may be ensured that all the action regarding data entry and data transfer etc be logged properly, the committee said.
The deceased Muhammad Salim was arrested in Rs 160 million embezzlement in commercialisation fees in August 2017 with other accused persons.
Salim is survived by four daughters and his youngest daughter is studying in 7th class in LDA School Johar Town.
When this scribe contacted NAB spokesperson Zeshan for his version on the story said that NAB has sufficient evidences against Salim and that it does not matter either someone is misused or not. He was responsible for the job and his signatures verified every payment. He said that NAB has nothing to do with the bail plea of any accused person instead it is the court of law that decides acceptance and rejection of bail plea.
When asked it is being said that the NAB failed to provide Salim with proper healthcare facilitation, he said that although NAB has the separate cells in the jails; it is the responsibility of the jail authorities to look after the prisoners.