Monday Oct 17 2022

ACE Punjab draws ire of LHC in case against Rana Sanaullah

Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference in this undated photo. — Online/File
Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah addresses a press conference in this undated photo. — Online/File

  • Minister appears before LHC bench in Rawalpindi.
  • You made Rana Sanaullah Pakistan’s number one proclaimed offender without evidence, says LHC judge
  • LHC had suspended arrest warrant last week.

RAWALPINDI: Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab drew the ire of Lahore High Court over its case against Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah, with Justice Sadaqat Ali Khan warning to send the anti-corruption watchdog’s additional director general (DG) to jail over incorrect registration of the case.

At the outset of the hearing at LHC's Rawalpindi bench, Justice Khan expressed his anger against additional DG ACE Punjab and remarked that the warrants of the interior minister were issued over an incorrect statement.

“Why should I not send you to jail for the incorrect registration of the case?” observed the judge. He also asked the whereabouts of the DG ACE Punjab as he was directed to appear in court today.

“You need to present evidence against Rana Sanaullah, where is it? You made Rana Sanaullah Pakistan’s number one proclaimed offender without evidence,” said the judge.

He added that the minister was a buyer of the plot in the housing society in question, adding that the watchdog was registering cases against the buyer instead of protecting him.

At this, the lawyer for ACE Punjab informed the court that the no-objection certificate of the housing society was not issued.

“NOC has no relation to this case. You said Rana Sanaullah bribed to purchase this plot, where is the evidence?” said Justice Khan. He also asked ACE Punjab to prove who bribed Sanaullah.

The court then adjourned the hearing till October 28 and directed DG ACE Punjab to appear in court with the complete record of the case along with full preparation.

Sanaullah had appeared before the LHC after he was summoned by the court.

Apart from the minister, the director general of ACE Punjab was also summoned but he did not appear.

Last week, the Rawalpindi bench of LHC suspended a non-bailable warrant to arrest Rana Sanaullah Khan. 

The warrants were issued by a special magistrate for failing to appear in an inquiry regarding a corruption case filed against the minister. ACE Punjab had tried arresting the minister but failed to do so.

On the same day, ACE Punjab was also issued a notice by the Rawalpindi bench in which it sought records related to the case.

The development came following a petition filed by the interior minister’s counsel advocate Razzaq A. Mirza on his behalf, which stated that the ACE has obtained the warrant through misrepresentation.

Bismillah Housing Scheme case

On October 8, a special judicial magistrate of Rawalpindi Ghulam Akbar issued the arrest warrant for Sanaullah at the request of ACE Punjab in an inquiry pertaining to plots in a housing society that were purchased at a nominal price.

Earlier, Adviser to Punjab CM for Anti-Corruption Brigadier (retd) Musaddiq Abbasi told the media that Rana Sanaullah has been found guilty in the corruption case against him.

Sanaullah accepted two plots as a "bribe” from an “illegal housing society” — Bismillah Housing Scheme — in the Chakwal district, he said.

Abbasi said ACE launched the land acquisition inquiry in 2017 against the minister. As per inquiry, the housing society's owner presented two plots measuring 10 kanals as a bribe, he said.

Abbasi added the plots were transferred to Sanaullah at a much lower price than the scheduled rate. The plots are still in the possession of the minister and his wife, he claimed.

He noted the probe also found that the records for plots 18A and 139A were missing.

On October 8, the PTI said on its official Twitter account that a non-bailable arrest warrant had been issued for Rana Sanaullah and a police party had left to arrest him but failed to achieve its objective.