PKONWEB Report (ISLAMABAD) — The Supreme Court on Tuesday rejected Bahria Town’s offer to deposit Rs250 billion as restitution to avoid legal proceedings for illegally acquiring lands for its projects in Karachi, Islamabad and Murree.
At the outset of today’s hearing, a counsel on behalf of Bahria Town offered to submit Rs200 billion to waive off charges and penalties against the real estate development company owned and operated by billionaire tycoon Malik Riaz.
The country’s top court in May last year put a legal break on his operations, declared some of their land acquisitions and swap deals illegal and slapped penalties besides ordering NAB to investigate.
Justice Azmat Saeed, who was heading the three-member bench, reminded the respondent’s counsel that a fine of Rs285 billion had been imposed on Bahria Town in 2004. “If the fine money is increased by 40 per cent, it will amount to Rs300bn.”
Justice Saeed noted that three separate verdicts had been passed against Bahria Town in May 2018, so it should make “separate and reasonable” offers for its projects in Karachi, Islamabad and Murree.
At this, Bahira Town’s counsel increased the offer to Rs250bn ($1.8 billion @ Rs140 per dollar rate).
“This is not a suitable way to deal with [the apex court],” Justice Saeed said, reprimanding the lawyer. “We may ask the National Accountability Bureau to file a reference.”
The counsel sought one week’s time to file a reply. Justice Saeed granted the plea and directed Bahria Town to submit written offers in all the three cases.
“Our mistake was not that big,” the counsel argued.
“Mistake is supposed to be of one or two kanals, not of thousands of acres,” the judge replied.
An implementation bench of the apex court was hearing the case today pertaining to the implementation on the May 4, SC verdict against Bahria Town. Under the order, the court had barred M/s Bahria Town Karachi from selling any plot or constructed apartment in the mega housing scheme on the outskirts of the port city, declaring the grant of land to the Malir Development Authority and its exchange with the land of the private land developers illegal and void ab initio.