Islamabad: Malik Riaz gets relief in land fraud case
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) has given relief to real estate tycoon Malik Riaz by issuing a stay against the anti–corruption court’s order of arresting him until September 15 in a land fraud case. The court also asked the Lahore High Court (LHC) to decide the matter of jurisdiction between National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Punjab Anti–Corruption Establishment (ACE) before the said date. On August 24, the LHC had adjourned the case at the request of Punjab prosecutor general to ascertain whether NAB or ACE has jurisdiction to investigate the alleged fraud involving 1,401 kanals. In November 2011, the case was transferred from ACE to NAB, but instead of handing over the record of case to NAB, ACE challenged the transfer of case in court.
Appearing on behalf of Malik Riaz, Aitzaz Ahsan told the court that the anti–corruption court had issued arrest warrants of the business tycoon against its jurisdiction. He said his client had filed a petition in the LHC against the ruling of anti–corruption court.
He requested the SC to cancel the arrest warrants and stop the anti–corruption court from proceeding against his client. The SC ordered the Punjab Anti–Corruption Department not to arrest Malik Riaz and asked the LHC to decided the matter of jurisdiction before September 15.
On June 21, a special anti–corruption court in Rawalpindi had issued arrest warrants of the former Bahria Town owner in the fraud of 1,401 kanals in Rawat.
On July 17, Malik Riaz obtained protective bail from the Sindh High Court while the Rawalpindi anti–corruption court declared him proclaimed offender on July 30.
The LHC’s Rawalpindi bench temporarily suspended the anti–corruption court’s order until August 15 after Malik Riaz’s counsel produced certified copies of the SHC order granting protective/transitory bail to his client.
On August 15, the Sindh High Court (SHC) had granted a two-week transit/protective bail to Malik Riaz against Rs 1 million surety in a land scam, directing him to approach relevant trial court.
A single bench of the SHC comprising Justice Hassan Azhar Rizvi heard Malik Riaz’s bail extension plea. Riaz’s counsel Shaukat Hayat had appeared before the court and stated that the applicant is a cardiac patient and had been admitted to a private hospital. He stated that his client was unable to travel to appear before the court.
Hayat also produced applicant’s treatment documents and prayed to the court to grant an extension in transit/protective bail in the favour of applicant.
It is pertinent to mention here that a single bench of the SHC comprising Justice Farooq Ahmad Channa had already granted four-week protective bail to Riaz on July 19.