Wednesday, May 07, 2008
By Rauf Klasra
ISLAMABAD: The master file containing the secret official record and copies of 3,128 eligibility certificates of government properties sold in Karachi in open market and the official correspondence of former housing minister Safwanullah, has been stolen from the housing ministry.
A top source has confirmed that the government had been informed that the master file containing the lethal evidence against the former housing minister and couple of other favourite officials of the ministry who had collaborated with him in the issuance of these illegal certificates, is said to have landed at the headquarter of a political party in Karachi.
The file contained the relevant information and the hand written decisions of the former minister. The official order of inquiry into the stealing of the master file reads that “the master file was submitted to the minister housing Safwanullah and since then it was missing”.
The real estate officer of Pakistan Sher Afzal Khan had visited Karachi under physical protection of the law enforcement agencies to probe the scam. Copies of eligibility certificates were also part of this master file.
A joint secretary who belonged to Karachi and had just got retired, is now also being directly accused of collaborating in stealing this master file from his office on the last day of the minister’s job. He is said to have dispatched this master file to Karachi.
The outgoing secretary Rauf Chaudhry, who was removed on the complaint of MQM after he refused to stop proceedings on the multi trillions scam, had ordered an inquiry on April 28 to determine the facts of the shocking episode and fix responsibility.
According to the available copy of the order into the missing master file, Mr Saifullah Khan, section officer has been appointed as the inquiry officer to inquire into the whole affair. The notification said, the case regarding issuance of eligibility certificates to the residents of government quarters at Karachi was processed on VOLUME-V of the works section’s file No 6(21)/2002. The file was submitted to the then minister for housing and works. However, subsequently it was misplaced and it is not traceable since then. The notification said the competent authority has appointed Saifullah of this ministry to probe the issue of misplacement of file in question. He is required to submit the fact finding report in the matter within 15 days of the receipt of this letter.
Talking to The News, Housing minister Rahmatullah Kakar confirmed that he had been informed that the file had been stolen from the housing minister records. The minister told this correspondent not to publish this story as he feared this would create big legal problems for the housing ministry, as it would have no record to proceed against those who were given allotment letters of government properties worth Rs450billion without the approval of the federal government.
The minister also lost his temper when talking to this correspondent for publishing a story in The News on Tuesday in which it was reported that the minister had given up his efforts to cancel these letters in the face of mounting pressure of MQM.
Rahmatullah Kakar said, it was absolutely “one sided” view which was reflected in the news story as this was untrue to conclude that he had given up before the pressure of MQM senators. He claimed that he was not under any pressure to dump the scam issue was it was reported in the newspaper. The Minister also accused this correspondent of “blackmailing” him by publishing such kind of stories in the newspaper.
Kakar said, it was wrong to assume that Fazlur Rehman had made him a telephone call to show leniency in the case of eligibility letters and that was why he had sat down with MQM senators in the house on Monday to strike a compromise.
The last day of his retirement last month, he was in the possession of the master file which was given to him by the secretary Rauf Chaudhry. The Joint secretary was asked to discuss the file with the estate officer Sher Afzal Khan as he had unearthed the whole scam after risking his life. But, when the estate officer went to discuss the file with the joint secretary, he dropped a bombshell on his head that the file had gone missing.
When the secretary Rauf Chaudhry checked with the joint secretary about the file, he simply told on the face of the shocked secretary that he was never given any file. But, Rauf Chaudhry told him that he himself had handed over the file. After failing to find the master file, the secretary ordered an inquiry into the whole affair. However, the formal proceedings into the disappearance of the mater file had not been started despite lapse of one week. Only one week was left but the inquiry officer was yet to start his probe into the shocking disappearance of the master file.