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Not enough evidence to arrest PM, NAB tells SC
 
 
 

ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court on Thursday expressed dissatisfaction over a National Accountability Bureau report relating to the implementation of its March 30, 2012 judgment on awarding Rental Power Plants contracts to the companies, and rejected it.The bureau chairman was directed to submit a comprehensive list pertaining to the investigation conducted in the cases of solicited and unsolicited contracts.The NAB prosecutor general presented the progress report that stated not yet enough evidence to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and 15 others. The NAB chairman said, “The investigation and inquiries are not yet complete.”On January 15, the court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Ashraf and 15 others allegedly receiving kickbacks and commission in transactions involving rental power plants when Ashraf served as federal minister for water and power. A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry was hearing the non-implementation of its March 30, 2012 judgement.During the proceedings, NAB Chairman Admiral (retired) Fasih Bukhari and Prosecutor General KK Agha contended that the Supreme Court had no jurisdiction to supervise the investigation.Countering their argument, the chief justice said since 1990 the court has had the power to supervise the probe. When the court asked Fasih Bokhari to produce the record of investigation, he argued it was voluminous and sensitive and if any file would miss, it would create problem in the investigations. He asked the court to give the order in writing. Upon this, Justice Azmat Saeed said the verbal order of the court was also an order, and directed the NAB chief to bring the record in his custody.Justice Chaudhry remarked that the court had issued the order for all those accused in the case and not just for Prime Minister Ashraf. He noted that implementation of the court’s ruling in the case had been pending since March last year. The NAB authorities, the chief justice further said, needed to justify as to why the court’s directives had not been implemented. “Why could there be no challans against the accused and why had no arrests been made. Why your machinery is not moving against the persons concerned, what is the hurdle?” he remarked. An hour later, the NAB chairman came back with a huge stash of portfolios. He informed the court that he did not interfere in the investigation and left it upon the investigation officers to probe the matter. He said that in March last year, the NAB assigned the task to different teams for recovery. “Some money has been recovered, and residual amount would also be recovered.” Fasih told the court that before framing criminal charges against the accused, they had to go through the different records and have to collect further evidences to substantiate the allegations. He, however, said that this process was going on. He said that interim reports on Piraghaib and Techno Sahuwal prepared under the supervision of the NAB Rawalpind DG had to be tabled before the executive board meeting for making final decision to file references.“I can disclose the information only in chamber.” The criminality of our own people on the basis of investigation would be first vetted by the NAB legal team and after that the reference would be filed against the persons involved in RPPs scam.Justice Chaudhry said in the paragraph 84 (ix) of the judgment the court had clearly stated about the corruption and the corrupt practice, adding in view of the fact that the accused persons were influential, the NAB was directed to submit report fortnightly.The para 84(ix) of the RPPs judgement said, “All the government functionaries, including the ministers for water & power holding charge in 2006 and onward and from 2008 to onward, during whose tenure the RPPs were approved/set up and minister as well as the finance secretary holding the charge when the down payment was increased from 7 per cent to 14 per cent, prima facie, violated the principle of transparency under Articles 9 & 24 of the Constitution and Section 7 of the Act, 1997, therefore, their involvement in getting financial benefits out of the same by indulging in corruption and corrupt practices cannot be overruled in view of the discussion made hereinabove. Consequently, they are liable to be dealt with under the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 by the NAB.”When no progress report was submitted, they then inquired about the unsolicited and solicited contracts from the NAB chairman. The chief justice asked the chairman that being the head of the bureau he would be answerable. He said in the last hearing, Additional Prosecutor General Rana Zahid Mehmood gave the impression that there was no evidence regarding increase of advance payment from 7 to 14 per cent, but the investigation was going on.Justice Azmat said that six times they had asked the APG to give a timeframe, adding; “He could have said that the matter is in the headquarters.” The court on the request of Prosecutor General KK Agha adjourned the hearing till January 23.

 
 
on epaper page 12
 
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