Ring Road scandal: Former Commissioner Rawalpindi arrested

Former Commissioner Rawalpindi Captain (retd) Mohammad Mahmood has been arrested in the Ring Road scandal.

ISLAMABAD: Former Commissioner Rawalpindi Captain (retd) Mohammad Mahmood has been arrested for this alleged role in the Ring Road scandal.

The Ant-Corruption Establishment has also arrested Chairman Land Acquisition Department Waseem Tabish in the mega-scandal. Addressing a press conference, ACE Director General Gohar Nafees confirming the arrests and said that Waseem Tabish purchased properties after the scandal while an audit of the assets of Captain (retd) Muhammad Mahmood is currently being conducted.

The official said that they have examined 21,000 documents to conclude their investigations which revealed that total cost of the project was raised to Rs60 billion after a change in project alignment.

He said the project included a cost of Rs40 billion on construction and Rs16 billion for land acquisition. However, the approval for change in alignment was not sought from the chief minister Punjab. He said that private housing societies were given the advantage as massive purchasing began in the areas after March 2020.

A fact-finding inquiry committee detected large-scale irregularities in the Ring Road project. The inquiry committee formed revealed that former commissioner Muhammad Mehmood made illegal changes in the actual plan of the Ring Road to benefit some influential persons. Former LAC Waseem Tabish and former government officer Abdullah were also involved in the scam, said the report.

The Ring Road project was conceived during the tenure of the previous government but was revised under the PTI government. Allegations recently arose that the revisions were done to benefit private entities and individuals.

The names of some cabinet ministers were also mentioned as possible beneficiaries. Aviation Minister Ghulam Sarwar Khan has claimed that he was being wrongly accused in the scandal.

Special Assistant to the Prime Minister on Overseas Pakistanis Zulfi Bukhari has resigned from his public office after an inquiry into the Rawalpindi Ring Road project after his alleged involvement in corrupt practices.

On April 23, Prime Minister Imran Khan had directed Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar to launch an investigation into the alleged changes into Rawalpindi’s Ring Road project.

The prime minister had taken notice of the alleged changes in the direction of the multi-billion project in violation of the proposed plan in order to benefit private housing societies.