By Raza Ruman
(Pakdestiny.com) The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has finally arrested the owner of Royal TV and the Formanites Housing Scheme for a scam worth Rs1.5 billion for cheating public at large.
Zahoor Wattoo, the owner of Royal News used his channel to stop the NAB from taking action against him but he failed to do so as NAB arrested him yesterday while he was going to his office.
The NAB should also lay hand in other black sheep in media who have made millions in their other illegal businesses and using their TV channels as a cover.
A NAB spokesman told Dawn: “Mr Wattoo and other suspects had joined the investigation but they were reluctant to return the amount to the complainants,” he said, adding more than 1,100 people had filed complaints against the owners of the housing society in question.
“The suspects launched the Formanites Housing Scheme in 1997 and lured the general public to invest/purchase plots in it. They committed massive illegalities. The number of plots sold out to the general public was far greater than those existed in the approved plan. Moreover, there were frequent instances of duplication and cancellation of plots without any justification and plausible reason. Further, land reserved for amenities was illegally transformed into residential and commercial plots and sold out to the general public,” the NAB spokesman said.
According to most of the complaints, the society management had sold a number of plots at Phase-II which were “non-existent”.
The society also resold several pledged plots, and the plots of those who had defaulted.
The NAB further said the complainants were forced to pay excessive development charges.
“In 2003-04, the suspects illegally started booking and selling plots in Phase-II of the housing scheme for which no land was specified in the first place and continued with the practice recklessly over a long period. Thus they deprived the general public of their money and used the ill-gotten money for their personal gains,” the bureau said and also pointed out that the suspects amassed “huge assets and utilised the money to open new ventures,” the spokesman said. – Pak Destiny