ISLAMABAD: The tussle between Federal State Minister for Finance Rana Afzal and Punjab Food Authority (PFA) Director General (DG) Noor-ul-Amin Mengal has intensified after Afzal decided to approach the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Mengal.
The state minister had filed a privilege motion against Mengal in the National Assembly (NA) two years ago but the committee concerned failed to reach any conclusion in this connection.
The federal minister had also filed an application with the Establishment Division secretary stating that Mengal was involved in corruption while posted in Faisalabad but the secretary had not taken any action owing to Mengal’s close association with Punjab Chief Minister (CM) Shehbaz Sharif and Punjab Law Minister Rana Sanaullah.
The tussle between the two started in 2014 when Mengal was Faisalabad’s district coordination officer (DCO). He defamed the minister on mainstream media but later the DCO’s allegations were proved wrong.
Documents available with the minister showed that a complaint had been filed with Establishment Division secretary on September 16, 2015. “I have no knowledge about the progress made in this case in the last two and a half years, even though the matter should have been considered extremely important,” the letter stated.
The minister further stated in his complaint that the personal guard of former Faisalabad DCO used to collect large sums of money in the form of kickbacks from patwaris, tehsildars and other officials of the revenue department, as well as from the Town Municipal Administration (TMA).
The total monthly collection amounted to millions of rupees while DDO HRM, Iqbal Town administrator and others fully backed the DCO’s driver and guard during their money collection drives.
The Faisalabad police Special Branch in its assessment report also confirmed that huge amounts of money cannot be collected from the revenue officials and other departments falling under the control of the district administration without the connivance of Faisalabad DCO.
Federal Minister Afzal’s application also stated that the involvement of officials belonging to the district administration in massive corruption and the matter of not booking the SCO’s guard, namely Rana Imran, raised many questions about good governance in Punjab.
The application further mentioned that Mengal also blackmailed Rana Afzal by tasking a woman to develop relations with him (Afzal). But the state minister lodged a complaint against the anonymous girl with the Intelligence Bureau (IB).
The IB in its report stated that the lady was in continuous contact with the then Faisalabad DCO. She concealed her real identity and changed her name during her meeting with Afzal. It was found that she had maintained continuous contact through messages or calls with the DCO, which showed that she enjoyed a healthy relationship with the DCO.
In addition, they were also together in Islamabad on November 3, 2015, and the girl continued to contact the DCO even when she was in a meeting with the minister.
The privilege committee would soon take up this matter. Sources said that the committee cannot make a decision because everyone knew the powerful people who were backing Mengal. This scribe tried to contact the Establishment Division secretary but to no avail.
On the other hand, one senior official, seeking anonymity, confirmed that Rana Afzal had filed a complaint with the Establishment Division secretary but failed to provide any proof in this regard.
The Establishment Division had transferred the senior officer from Lahore to Balochistan but the Punjab government was not relieving him of his duties.
On the other hand, Noor-ul-Amin Mengal, while talking to Pakistan Today, said that the federal finance minister had acquired land worth Rs 3 billion for a devalued price of Rs 2.7 million.
He also said that the issue of his guard collecting money in his name was four years old. After coming to know about the matter, I terminated the services of my guard and other officials who were involved in corruption, he added.
Replying to a query about an attempt to trap the federal minister through an anonymous woman, Mengal said, “I am a professional officer and I do not have the time to use such cheap tactics against someone?” The woman in question had also filed a defamation case against Federal Minister Rana Afzal, he concluded.
It is pertinent to mention here that the former Faisalabad DCO was the class fellow of former Lahore Development Authority DG Ahad Cheema, who is currently in NAB custody for owning assets beyond means.