*LAHORE: The arrest of the former DCO Lahore and the former DGA LDA Ahad Cheema has sent shockwave across the Punjab Bureaucracy. The bureaucracy in Punjab was considered invincible under the Sharifs regime and was considered as untouchables with the patronage of their bosses. *
*However the myth of the Punjab Bureacracy has been broken by the National Accountability Bureau. Sharifs have been ruling Punjab for last three decades with the help of the strong bureaucracy with an informal guarantee that it will not be touched by the state institutions. *
*However National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday arrested former Director General Lahore Development Authority (LDA) for alleged irregularities in the Ashiana housing scheme.*
Ahad Cheema , who is now serving as chief executive of the Punjab Power Company, was arrested from his office located in Gulberg area. He has been shifted to the NAB office in Thokhar Niaz Baig area of Lahore.
NAB is currently investigating irregularities worth one billion rupees in the Ashiana housing scheme. Previously, Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and the prime minister’s principal secretary Fawad Hasan Fawad have appeared before the anti-graft watchdog.
On Friday, prime minister’s principal secretary Fawad Hassan Fawad appeared before the NAB Lahore to record his statement. He was questioned by the bureau’s combined investigation team (CIT) with regard to his alleged involvement in awarding a contract to a firm in violation of the relevant laws.
Earlier on January 22, the anti-graft body questioned Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif in the same case.
The chief minister has been accused of illegally meddling in the affairs of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) that caused over Rs one billion loss to the national exchequer.
According to the NAB notice, an inquiry against officials of the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) and LDA revealed that “prima facie Shahbaz Sharif, being the Chief Minister Punjab, had ordered certain illegal acts in sheer violation of the laid down procedures for functioning of PLDC due to which the company bore a huge financial loss.”
“Shahbaz had ordered cancellation of contract of Aashiana-e-Iqbal to a successful bidder, leading to award of the contract to other builder, which resulted into a loss of Rs 193 million approximately,” the notice reads.
He also directed PLDC to assign the project of Aashiana-e-Iqbal to LDA resulting into award of contracts to M/s Lahore Casa Developers (JV), thus causing loss of Rs 715 million approximately and ultimately failure of the project, according to the notice.
It says the chief minister had also directed PLDC to award consultancy services of Aashiana-e-Iqbal project for Rs 192 million approximately, but its actual cost was Rs 35 million.