LAHORE - The Joint Enquiry Team (JET) constituted by the apex court, after thoroughly probing the establishment of cement industry in the Potohar region, has recommended criminal proceedings against three factories and 15 people including two secretaries.

The JET has also recommended imposition of fine, penalty or recovery against the CEOs of DG Khan Cement Factory Khairpur, Kalar Kahar Chakwal and Bestway Cement Factory Choa Saidan Shah Chakwal.

The JET has also recommended names of former secretaries of two departments in the report. The ex-secretary Industries, commerce and investment Maj (Retd) Fayyaz Bashir and ex-secretary Environment Protection Department Iqbal Shaikh were declared responsible in the report. Others against whom action was recommended include EPA director Ch Ahmad Nadeem, the then DCO Chakwal from February 2004 to August 2006, ex-district nazim Chakwal Sardar Ghulam Abbas Khan from 2001 to 2010. Moreover, ex-tehsil nazim TMA Choa Saidan Shah Malik Hafeezur Rehman from 2001-2005, ex-tehsil nazim TMA Kalar Kahar from 2005 to 2010 were also found liable in the probe.

Others against whom action was recommended include Small Mines Assistance Irshad Ali Khokhar, DO Revenue Chakwal Malik Muhammad Qayyum, ex-LAC Industries Department Ahmad Alam Waseem, Allah Baksh Jaspal Tehsildar Circle Tatral, Girdawar Ashraf, Raseeb Patwari Mouza Tatral, Rasheed Hussain Patwari mouza Darmial. The team also recommended proceedings against all those revenue officers who had been posted there during the land acquisition process.

Official documents also available with The Nation reveal, “It is established that serious lapses/illegalities/irregularities have been committed by the said departments in the process of setting up of cement factories and favouritism was extended to the proponents i.e DG Khan and Bestway Cement factories.”

The documents further state, “After thrashing the available record of all concerned departments mentioned supra, the following respondents have been found responsible for extending undue favour and causing lapses in the process of issuance of NOC’s and non-fulfilling the codal formalities, for setting up of three cement industries in district Chakwal”.

Moreover, criminal proceedings against officers of industries department are also recommended for misappropriation and loss of record. Other names should be fixed by the incumbent secretary industries.

The Anti-Corruption Establishment DG had on the court orders deputed a high profile JET comprising senior officers of the anti-graft watchdog. ACE Regional director Lahore Abdul Shakoor was the head of the team while ACE Lahore Deputy Director Legal Riaz Ch, Assistant Director Legal Malik Naveed Tariq, ACE Punjab AD Technical Irfan Maqbool Bhutta were members of the enquiry team.

The team was also empowered to opt any other member for their convenience or seeking of expert opinion and to submit preliminary report.

The terms of reference (TORs) of the probe body had been to dig out the role of different departments regarding issuance of the NOC and subsequent role of various departments of Punjab government for establishing the cement industries in the said area.

It is to be recalled that the apex court in its order dated 14th September had written the court was of the view that an enquiry be conducted to ascertain whether any lapse occurred or favoritism was shown by the concerned officers of the industries department and other relevant departments while three cement industries in question were being set up in the concerned areas. Let the Anti-Corruption Establishment Punjab conduct an enquiry and submit a report to this court within a fortnight. In case any guidance regarding the terms of reference is needed they may draw the TORs and seek approval of the court.

The Supreme Court in November last year had taken suo moto notice of reports that the pond in the Katas Raj temple was drying up because of cement factories who had consumed sub-soil water. A three-member SC bench, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, had been hearing the case since then.

Meanwhile, Bestway Cement and DG Khan Cement have offered to submit Rs2b (Rs1.5b by Bestway and Rs 0.5b by DG Khan) as security till they find alternate source of water. Besides building a small dam in the area, the factories had also proposed to pay the Punjab government for consumption of water.

The CJP, besides directing the ACE to initiate inquiry into the grave issue, had also noted that the cement factories would also have to improve their smoke exhaust systems.