Lahore: Education City land scandal: Accused professor denied bail
LAHORE: Rawalpindi Anti–Corruption Judge Chaudhry Muhammad Amir Khan on Wednesday rejected the bail plea of former Board of Intermediate and Secondary Education (Rawalpindi) chairman Prof Dr Iftikhar Baig, being held in Lahore Camp Jail following a 14-day physical remand, in the Rs 1 billion Education City Housing Society scandal. Prof Baig was arrested in Lahore on March 13 for allegedly looting the sum from 4,500 national and overseas Pakistanis in the name of a housing colony. The case was transferred from Rawalpindi to Lahore on the orders of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, as most of the victims and the accused were living in Lahore.
The Anti–Corruption Establishment (ACE) Lahore produced him in court, which sent the accused to Camp Jail after the physical remand.
Dr Baig filed a bail application in Rawalpindi, however, after five hearings of the court, the judge rejected the bail plea of the accused following completion of arguments by his lawyer and submission of an inquiry report.
ACE Lahore Assistant Director (Legal) Muhammad Riaz Chaudhry and Inspector Zubair appeared before the court with all the record collected from patwaris regarding the purchase of land for the housing society.
The assistant director told the court that as per their investigation, Prof Baig and others announced purchasing 4,000 kanals on Fateh Jang Road near Islamabad airport, however, they had purchased only 432 kanals. “Since the launch of society in 2004 to date, the society couldn’t handover any plot to even a single client,” he said.
The ACE arrested Dr Baig form the MAO College on March 13, where he was the chief guest of a sports ceremony. The arrest came eight months after the Punjab chief minister – on the request of some victims – ordered transferring the case form Rawalpindi to Lahore. It is noteworthy that seven FIRs have been registered against the accused, including four in Sheikhupura, two in Lahore and one in Rawalpindi.
According to the FIRs, Dr Baig and others – through an NGO named Education Foundation – launched a fraudulent housing scheme. His accomplices included MAO college professor Syed Ishfaq Hussain Shah, former Finance Department employee Nazir Ahmed, Dr Baig’s wife Zubaida Baig and Prof Syed Ashfaq’s wife Lubna Tirmizi and relative Shamim Akhtar. It is noteworthy that the victims have already managed to seize an account of Rs 120 million in the name of Dr Iftikhar Baig.