Over 600 allottees of housing plan set to get a settlement after 18 yrs

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KARACHI: An accountability courtroom on Wednesday permitted a plea bargain between the National Accountability Bureau and 2 detained contractors, who pledged to compensate around six hundred people suffering from a housing scheme scandal after 18 yrs. Rauf Ahmed Rufi and Manzoor Ahmed Rufi, the owners of M/s Rufi Builders and Builders, have been booked and detained in a case pertaining to cheating the public at huge by denying possession of plots to around 600 allottees, who had made their charges around 18 years back for the Rufi Global City project.

On Wednesday, the issue was set before accountability court-III judge Dr. Sher Bano Karim when the accused persons relocated an application pleading to the courtroom to accept their plea bargain signed with the federal anti-graft watchdog authorities in the land scam estimated at around Rs1 .57 billion. The accused persons had shifted software through their defense counsel Mudassar Zaidi mentioning that his clients had entered into a plea bargain arrangement with NAB authorities under Section 25( b ) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 and the anti-graft watchdog had discharged them from the recommendation filed against them.

Therefore, the courtroom was also pleaded to agree to the plea bargain between the accused persons and the NAB authorities in accordance with the provisions of the NAO, 1999. Advocate Nadeem Pirzada, who represented the committee of the damaged persons, also informed the courtroom that the affected persons had accepted to the fresh conditions and terms of the plea bargain offered by the contractors, who had undertaken to compensate the affected persons. He gave the consent on behalf of the committee of the affected persons and stated that his client had no objection if the plea bargain was permitted by the courtroom.

NAB prosecutor Shahbaz Sahotra submitted that the allottees would get plots at a similar place where the plan was initially promised to be released 18 years back by the contractors. He also mentioned that the NAB authorities had previously accepted the plea bargain with the accused persons after declining their offers 2 times previously since they did not agree to the terms. The prosecutor gave his consent to the plea bargain. After court date arguments from the prosecutor, the defense counsel and the counsel representing the affected persons, the judge accepted the plea bargain in the conditions and terms accepted between the parties and disposed of the reference against the accused. The court also granted launch orders for them.

However, the courtroom disqualified the accused persons from holding any public office, contesting elections or obtaining loans from banks for ten years. Previously, the affected persons had discarded the plea bargain between the accused persons and the NAB authorities objecting to the conditions and terms proposed by the contractors. According to the anti-graft watchdog, M/s Rufi Builders and Designers had launched a housing plan named Rufi Global City on a 45-acre part of the property along the Superhighway and had booked houses and received cash in installments. Later, they allegedly denied possession of 415 houses allotted to the public and also extorted money from them, it added. The watchdog had initiated an inquiry on the basis of the complaints of the affected persons and subsequently filed a recommendation against the constructors a year ago.

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