Ex-Rawalpindi commissioner suspended over ring road scandal

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ISLAMABAD – Former Rawalpindi commissioner Muhammad Mahmood was suspended from services weeks after he was arrested for his alleged involvement in the Pindi Ring Road irregularities case.

The Punjab government had removed Mahmood as commissioner earlier this year and made him OSD – Officer on Special Duty – in Establishment Division.

The development comes after Anti-Corruption Punjab Director General Gohar Nafees briefed the media about the conclusion of investigation report into the Pindi Ring Road irregularities case, clearing former SAPM Zulfi Bukhari and Minister for Aviation Ghulam Sarwar Khan in the inquiry.

Former commissioner Rawalpindi and project director Rawalpindi Ring Road project, Muhammad Mahmood, and land acquisition collector Abbas Tabish had been detained and a case has been registered in connection with the breaches in Rawalpindi Ring Road.

“The findings of the ACE are based on an inquiry team analyzing 21,000 documents and interrogating 100 officers,” the official added.

“It is for the first time in the history that the Punjab ACE has arrested an officer of the rank of commissioner,” he said.

The ACE asserted that the accused persons had made the decision of “illegal alignment, compensations, awards, etc” without the approval of any higher authorities.

Sharing the aspects of the investigation with the media, he said former commissioner Rawalpindi Muhammad Mahmood changed the arrangement of the Ring Road which was approved by the then government in 2018, which raised the cost of the scheme and also the price of land.

A new firm was hired for consultancy and designated the job of new alignment without taking permission from the government. He said the project manager was asked to get consent from the chief minister but he failed to do that. He said the project was later delivered over to Nespak.

Gohar Nafees said in breach of rules, the local carrier was allowed to use the road which benefited the owners of the housing societies. He said CDA disallowed the development of the section which is in Islamabad, but this part was shown in the advertisements.

He said later the government decided to upgrade Lahore Ring Road Authority as Punjab Ring Road Authority to complete the construction and until then, no land would be acquired, but this was also violated by purchasing land worth Rs2.6 billion.

Read more: https://pakobserver.net/affectees-demand-to-re-investigate-multibillion-ring-road-project/

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