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SHC refers case of theft of PHE dept's machinery to NAB for inquiry.

HYDERABAD -- Sindh High Court's (SHC) Hyderabad circuit bench on Tuesday referred a case of theft of public health engineering (PHE) department's machinery worth Rs30 million to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman for inquiry in accordance with the law.

The bench, comprising Justices Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro and Adnanul Karim Memon, passed the order after reading two-page report submitted by the deputy commissioner of Hyderabad in a public interest litigation which was taken up by the court for hearing. The case was adjourned to May 13.

The petitioner, Faisal Mughal, had filed a constitutional petition in 2013, citing the chief engineer of PHE, SSP, SHO Baldia police station, chairman of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Sindh and circle officer ACE Hyderabad as respondents.

The petitioner is a resident of journalist's colony near central prison Hyderabad. According to his petition, office of the PHE was situated near the colony and a two-acre plot of the PHE was also located there.

He said the plot was used for keeping heavy machinery and other material by the PHE. He said that since his childhood, he had seen the plot filled with heavy machinery and equipment worth Rs150m. He alleged that all the machinery was sold illegally by the PHE to private persons, but respondent ACE officers did not take any action in the matter.

He claimed that after that machinery was sold, the respondent PHE chief engineer sold the plot worth millions of rupees to private persons. He claimed that unknown persons had occupied the plot and construction was being raised there. He observed that encroachment over government property was seen by everyone.

The court on Nov 16, 2017 directed the DC of Hyderabad to conduct operation to remove encroachments on the above PHE land/plot and submit a report. About the theft of government machinery, the court directed the DC to hold an inquiry and submit his report after one month.

The DC on Tuesday submitted his report in line with Nov 16 order, stating that an operation was conducted on Dec 10, 2017, and the PHE store was vacated successfully from land grabbers and an area of 101,456sq ft was handed over to the PHE.

The DC submitted before the court that huge loss was caused to the government exchequer and mere registration of FIR would not serve the purpose. He asked the court to refer the matter to NAB for an inquiry and action against those found responsible in causing losses to the government exchequer.

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Publication:Dawn (Karachi, Pakistan)
Geographic Code:9INDI
Date:Mar 21, 2019
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