Lok Virsa wins case against private company for setting up illegal tuck shop

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—The National Institute of Folk and Traditional Heritage, the country’s premier cultural organization has won battle in the court of law in a case pertaining to one of its facilities that was misused by a private production company by setting up a ‘tuck shop’ illegally.
The company had filed an FIR against the Executive Director of Lok Virsa Dr Fouzia Saeed, three directors—Younas Haroon, Sajid Muneer and Ashfaq Ahmed—accusing them of breaking the locks of the tuck shop and removing items and cash from there.
The officials had obtained interim pre-arrest bail which was challenged by the company.
Dr Saeed, however, opted not to seek any pre-arrest bail. The appellants termed the FIR bogus which was filed after a lapse of six days of the incident.
Additional District and Sessions Judge Muhammad Adnan, on October 1, 2016 rejected the plea of the company against the bail applications of the three officials of Lok Virsa and confirmed their pre-arrest interim bail asking them to submit Rs50,000 surety and personal recognizance bonds within a week.
The complainant, a PPP senator who owns Cosmos Productions, had lodged an FIR in the Aabpara police station and also filed a civil suit in the court seeking the officials’ arrest and an injunction on the Lok Virsa action.
However, the Lok Virsa counsel contested the complainant company’s claims and said that the FIR was registered with mala fide intentions to pressurise the officials.
The judge observed, “Elements of mala fide and ulterior motives by the complainant and the police could not be ruled out”.
He also observed that the police report does not suggest that the complainant had furnished any document of permission in its favour even for putting [up] ‘portable kiosks’ what to speak of setting up ‘tuck shop’.
The judge also held that the complainant even did not furnish to the police its own inventory, stock registers, daily cash books, ledgers etc., to support its claim about the inventory and cash mentioned in the FIR.
The judge observed that the facility was given to the private company on a 10-year lease on July 7, 2004 for setting of a cafeteria and not a tuck shop. “I do not find any word like ‘Tuck Shop’, [the two] parties agreed to set up in the open space. Needless to say that tuck shop is not the synonymous of portable kiosk(s),” the judge said.
The company’s counsel, however, claimed that the company had set up “kiosks” and that they are not occupying any room.
The judge observed that under the rental deed, the right to grant permission for usage of an open space was reserved by the Lok Virsa management.

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