Saad Rafique, brother Salman arrested in Paragon City housing scam case

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LAHORE: PML-N bigwig and firebrand politician Khawaja Saad Rafique was arrested from the Lahore High Court on Tuesday by the country’s top graft-buster in a housing scam case.

Saad Rafique, the federal railways minister in the previous PML-N government, and his brother Salman Rafique – who was also a minister in the Shehbaz Sharif-led government in Punjab – were arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in connection with the Paragon City housing scam case.
The two brothers were taken into custody after the LHC turned down their plea for an extension in their interim bail.

Saad Rafique is also facing NAB inquiries in connection with financial scandals in Pakistan Railways and Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme.

In November, NAB shifted the director of Paragon City Housing Society, Qaiser Amin Butt, also an accused in the case, to Lahore. However, he was not presented before an accountability court for remand. The anti-graft body will produce him later as the transit remand had already been acquired by NAB.

He was allegedly involved in the commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices in connivance with co-accused Nadeem Zia and others.
Amin, in connivance with Nadeem Zia and others, had allegedly launched an illegal housing scheme known as Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd in 2005 on the basis of forged and fabricated documents with alleged approval from TMA Aziz Bhatti Town, Lahore.

In 2013, all TMA-approved housing schemes were transferred to the Lahore Development Authority (LDA). However, the record of Paragon Housing Scheme was intentionally not shifted to the LDA by the accused. Paragon City Housing Society has, so far, not been approved by the LDA. Thus, Amin, being the beneficial owner, was running the said housing scheme unlawfully.

The money collected from the public for the scheme was used for the personal benefits of the accused instead of providing timely development and possession of plots to the allottees of Paragon City.

In October, the Directorate General of Immigration and Passports (DGIP) had blacklisted Saad and his brother on NAB’s request.

The name of Qaiser Amin Butt, a former PML-N lawmaker from Punjab, had also been added to the blacklist of the Passport and Immigration Department, Express News reported.

According to a notification issued by the passport office, all three individuals will not be granted passport facilities without a prior approval from the directorate general.
The director general NAB Lahore had requested the DGIP to blacklist the passports of the PML-N leaders. The graft-buster had also submitted an application seeking their names to be placed on the Exit Control List (ECL).

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