Railways land scam Ex-generals to face NAB reference
ISLAMABAD: The National Accountability Bureau is preparing a reference against three ex-generals for their alleged involvement in the fraudulent Railways land deal.
“NAB’s investigators and legal team are preparing the reference against three former military generals, but it is not confirmed that when it will be filed in the court,” bureau’s spokesman Zafar Iqbal told Dawn.
However, he said, NAB would be in a position in a few days to officially make an announcement about the reference which was being prepared on the basis of a comprehensive investigation into the scam undertaken on the directives of the Supreme Court.
The reference, if filed, will be the first by NAB against any military general during the present PPP government.
The spokesman said the case of army generals was not being sent to the army; it would be pursued by NAB.
Former railways minister and ISI chief Lt-Gen (retd) Javed Ashraf Qazi, Lt-Gen (retd) Saeeduz Zafar and Maj-Gen (retd) Hamid Hassan Butt are accused of illegally leasing out 141 acres of Railways land to the Royal Palm Golf Club in Lahore in 2001 which reportedly caused losses of over Rs10 billion to the national exchequer. The case has been discussed and investigated at different levels and forums since 2007. The three retired generals appeared before NAB on Nov 1 to record their statements.
NAB claimed that it had managed to take care of the financial liability in the scam by renewing the lease agreement between the Railways authorities and the club’s management under which an additional amount of Rs16 billion was being paid by the latter.
The Public Accounts Committee of the National Assembly had on Sept 14 called for cancelling the controversial land lease.
The Supreme Court had taken notice of the deal and completed its hearing on the case in March last year. It has yet to issue a judgment.
Gen Javed Ashraf Qazi could not be contacted for comments on the issue despite several attempts.
In a letter to the editor published in a national daily on Nov 2, Gen Qazi said he and his colleagues had made Railways a profitable organisation.