ISLAMABAD - A division bench (DB) of Islamabad High Court (IHC) Wednesday granted bail to the former chairman Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) Tauqir Sadiq in multibillion rupees financial scam.
The DB comprising Justice Riaz Ahmad Khan and Justice Noor-ul-Haq N Qureshi accepted bail application of the former chairman OGRA against one million surety bonds and two personal guarantees.
Tauqir Sadiq has been under National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) judicial custody since July 09, 2013 and facing investigations into OGRA multibillion rupees financial scam.
During the hearing, the counsel for the petitioner, Sardar Asmatullah Advocate, contended before the court that denying bail to his client was against the principles of consistency, as NAB had not arrested nine other accused in this matter. "The two other accused who were also members of the OGRA board and were involved in key decisions -- Mansoor Muzzaffar and Kamal Farid Bijarani -- are on bail while his client has been languishing in jail after his arrest in Dubai," maintained the counsel of Sadiq.
He argued that Sadiq was arrested by the NAB authorities on January 28, 2013 in Dubai where he remained under custody till he was extradited to Pakistan in July 2013. "So his confinement period starting from January 28, 2013 till now is more than 13 months," added Asmatullah.
He told that as per NAB ordinance an accused is liable to be granted bail when the prosecution could not prove anything against him for more than a year. "Till this time, NAB could recover nothing from his client," argued the counsel.
He contended that the decision of increasing the rate of unaccounted for gas (UFG) from 5 per cent to 7 per cent was taken by the OGRA board comprising member gas and member finance.
"Initially the decision was taken in 2009 for a period of one year to cover the line losses and gas theft. After one year when OGRA decreased the UFG to 5 per cent, two gas supplier companies went to Lahore High Court and Justice Azmat Saeed Sheikh, then an LHC judge, had decided that the UFG would continue as per previous schedule," added Asmatullah.
He continued that rate of UFG remained the same during the period of Sadiq's predecessors and NAB had included the whole amount over his client when he was not even the chairman.
It is to mention here that the main trial in OGRA corruption scam is pending before the accountability court of Islamabad and NAB has also submitted references against the two former prime ministers Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf for illegal appointment of Tauqeer Sadiq. It was on November 25, 2012 when the apex court had struck down Sadiq's appointment as OGRA chairman. Then he fled to the United Arab Emirates and NAB arrested him with the help of Interpol. He was brought back to Pakistan on July 09, 2013.
Earlier, the same division bench (DB) of IHC had also declared the three-year conviction of former chairman OGRA Tauqir Sadiq in absentia for his alleged involvement in multibillion rupees corruption by an Accountability Court (AC) Rawalpindi as null and void.