- SC orders NAB to investigate Saad’s connection with Paragon City
- Saad still in the dock
- Saad struggling hard to delink himself with Paragon City
- SC observes whole city knows Paragon belongs to Saad
By Iram Salim
(Pak Destiny-Exclusive) On the orders of the Supreme Court, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has expedited probe against Federal Minister for Railways Khwaja Saad Rafique’s link in Rs14bn Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing scam and is likely to summon him to investigate his connection with the Paragon City that is hugely involved in the multi-billion scandal having footprints of PML-N stalwarts and bureaucracy .
“We are investigating the railway minister’s connection with the Paragon City. Paragon City was reportedly developed by Saad Rafique after joining the Sharifs in 1990s,” an official source told Pak Destiny today. He said since the Supreme Court has ordered the NAB to look into the allegations that Mr Rafique was behind the Paragon City affairs/investment the bureau is thoroughly probing the matter.
Last week the railways minister appeared before the Supreme Court and claimed that he has no links with the Paragon City. The SC however ordered the NAB to look into the allegations against Saad Rafique in the Ashiana scam.
Recently NAB has found ‘evidence’ of former Lahore Development Authority director general Ahad Khan Cheema’s Rs400 million share in another housing scheme in Lahore.
“During investigation in the Rs14 billion Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing scam, NAB has got a clue that Mr Cheema is a shareholder of Rs400m in a housing society on Ferozepur Road. There are three partners in this scheme. Director properties of M/s Paragon City (Pvt) Limited Nadeem Zia is said to be the second partner and Saad Rafique the third,” he said NAB has yet to confirm the name of the third partner.
“The Punjab Land Development Company had assigned the low-cost housing scheme of the Punjab government to the LDA through an agreement in January 2015. Ahad Cheema, being LDA DG, awarded contract of the project of Rs14bn approximately to M/s Casa Developers, a joint venture of three firms M/s Bismillah Engineering Services Co, M/s SPARCO Construction Company and M/s China First Metallurgical Group Co Ltd.”
NAB said the suspect’s illegal actions caused loss to the national exchequer as the contractor willfully failed to even initiate Ashiana-i-Iqbal project over the past three years. “Almost 61,000 poor applicants submitted around Rs60 million as processing fee in recent years for allotment of houses. The government incurred an amount of Rs190 million and the contractor M/s Casa Developers also caused loss in the form of liquidation damages of Rs455 million approximately. In addition, the project cost also increased by hundreds of millions of rupees,” NAB said.
The bureau said Nadeem Zia, a close aide to Mr Cheema, received Rs30.9 million in his bank account from the M/s Paragon City (of Saad Rafique) account maintained at DHA Lahore and same was paid for the purchase of 32-kanal land in Mouza Tedha tehsil in Lahore Cantonment. “The said land was transferred in the name of Ahad Khan Cheema’s family members – a brother, a sister and a cousin.”
NAB had recently raided the residence and office of Mr Zia to arrest him but returned unsuccessful. Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and Secretary to Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad are other top PML-N personalities appeared before NAB and recorded their statements in the case.
NAB sources said that soon it would summon Saad Rafique for his connection with the Paragon City. – Pak Destiny