ISLAMABAD: In accordance with the orders of the apex court, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has launched a formal probe against Bahria Town Karachi, Bahria Town Lahore and Bahria Town Rawalpindi, according to a press release issued by the watchdog on Monday. NAB Chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal has directed the relevant director generals to complete their investigation within three months, in line with the court’s directions. On May 4, the Supreme Court, in three hard-hitting verdicts against the real estate empire, had declared the procurement of land by Bahria Town for its housing projects in Karachi, Rawalpindi and Murree null and void, while noting that significant transfers and allotments of land to each project had been done illegally. The court had subsequently ordered the accountability bureau to file references against the individuals responsible for the transfers and to take action against them within three months. In each order, the bureau was told to pick up the thread from where it was left off and take its investigations against Bahria Town to their logical end. Reports said NAB investigation in the New Murree Development Scheme was already complete, and that inquiry against Bahria Town Lahore was a new initiative to investigate if there have been any irregularities in that project as well. The apex court had barred Bahria Town from selling or allotting land in the Bahria Town Karachi project after declaring that the allotment of land to the company by the Sindh government and a massive land swap with the Malir Development Authority (MDA) was done illegally. Separately, the SC had also held Bahria Town responsible for encroachment on forest land in the Takht Pari area near Islamabad.The issue raised in the Takht Pari case was that Bahria Town had ‘encroached’ upon 1,170 kanals of forest land, while the forest department had ‘encroached’ on an area measuring 765 kanals of Bahria Town.However, the court struck down this mutual ‘encroachment’ deal, deeming it illegal and of no effect. Published in Daily Times, May 22nd 2018.