A team of the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) on Monday arrived at the Islamabad’s Secretariat Police Station in compliance with the orders of a Rawalpindi court seeking the arrest of Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah in an inquiry related to purchase of plots in a housing society at a “throwaway price”.

According to Adviser to Punjab Chief Minister for Anti-Corruption retired Brigadier Musaddiq Abbasi, Sanaullah had taken two plots as “bribe” from an “illegal housing society” — the Bismillah Housing Scheme — in Chakwal district.

Earlier today, a special judicial magistrate of Rawalpindi issued directions to the Punjab ACE officials, asking them to arrest and produce Sanaullah before the court.

The hearing was conducted by special judicial magistrate of Rawalpindi Ghulam Akbar, who had also issued a non-bailable arrest warrant for Sanaullah at the request of the ACE last week.

The ACE had obtained the minister’s warrant since he allegedly failed to comply with repeated summons in case number 19/20 registered with the anti-graft body.

Akhlaq Ahmed, the owner of the society, has also been booked for allegedly bribing Sanaullah with a plot to get his society registered, claimed the prosecution.

At the hearing today, the ACE team requested the court to declare the minister “proclaimed offender”.

However, the magistrate turned down the plea, saying the suspect could not be declared proclaimed offender at this stage.

The court directed the ACE to take into custody and produce the minister before the judge.

In response, the officials told the court that they would approach the Ministry of Interior if police extended cooperation in the case.

Abbasi, the Punjab CM’s adviser, said on Saturday the ACE had initiated an inquiry against Mr Sanaullah (in 2017), who was then the Punjab law minister.

“During the investigation, it has been revealed that in the opening ceremony of Bismillah Housing Society, Colony Kallar Kahar, Rana Sanaullah, who was provincial law minister at that time, participated along with his wife. The housing society’s owner gifted Mr Sanaullah two plots measuring 10 kanals as a bribe,” the adviser had said and added the plots in question were transferred to Sanaullah by the society at a much lower than scheduled rate.

Abbasi had said these two plots were still in the possession of Sanaullah and his wife, which itself was “proof” that he had got these as a bribe by using his official position.

He said the case was registered in 2019 but the minister did not appear before ACE. “Sanaullah was re-summoned on Oct 6 but he did not appear before the ACE after which non-bailable arrest warrants were issued against him,” he said.

The retired brigadier said the ACE was taking indiscriminate action against the corrupt elements and no one was above the law.

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