However, FIA has absolved ex-minister for religious affairs and one of the main accused in the Haj scam, Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi, from the major allegations of misappropriation and corruption in the mismanagement of Haj affairs during 2010 and 2009 due to the lack of evidence against him.
The investigation officers (IOs) in a tricky and smart move has ambiguously held Hamid Saeed Kazmi innocent and guilty at the same time to give him the benefit of doubt in the court of law clearing the way for his acquittal, the challan report available with TheNation reveals. According to Special Public Prosecutor of FIA, Chaudhry Zulfiqar, it is the settled principal of law that benefit of doubt always goes to the accused.
Khalid Rasool, Deputy Director and Niamat Ali, Assistant Director of FIA’s Special Investigation Unit have prepared the report that is duly signed by both of these officers. The court has been requested by FIA to consider the already submitted interim challan in Haj scam as the final challan and these findings, describe above and below, are of the same final report.
Former Director General Haj Shakeel Ahmed Rao, former Joint Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs Aftab-ul-Islam and a private contractor Ahmed Faiz, proclaimed offender, have been held guilty for corruption, misappropriation and receiving kickbacks for hiring building for pilgrims at exorbitant rates in Saudi Arabia in the FIA’s report. The IOs in the second last paragraph of the challan report state that during the investigation conducted so far, no direct evidence is on record regarding receipt of bribe/kick backs by Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi. Ahmed Faiz is proclaimed offender and prosecution witness (PW) Muhammad Farooq is residing in Saudi Arabia; hence they could not be confronted with Kazmi. Up till now, no evidence is available regarding any criminal proceeds to connect it with income or assets of Kazmi. However, the arrest of Ahmed Faiz may lead us to some conclusion in this regard.
However, FIA has given contradictory remarks to the above mentioned section in the last paragraph of the challan report, the IOs say that accused Syed Hamid Saeed Kazmi, Shakeel Ahmed Rao and Raja Aftab-ul-Islam mentioned in column No.3 of the interim challan report are found guilty as per evidence available on record. FIA’s Special Public Prosecutor, Chaudhry Zulfiqar responding queries of The Nation here on Tuesday admitted that the investigators had made a big mistake by giving contradictory remarks against the accused in the challan report that ultimately would give the benefit of doubt to Mr Kazmi before the court of law. He said that it was settled principal of law that benefit of doubt always went to the accused.
Regarding allegation No. 1 against Kazmi, the challan report says that during the investigations, it transpired that accused Ahmed Faiz, a notorious person, was appointed with malafide intention on the directions of accused Hamid Saeed Kazmi by accused Shakeel Ahmed Rao as building supervisor on voluntary basis illegally. The appointment of accused Ahmed Faiz was a pre-planning for the purpose of corruption in the hiring of buildings for the Haj pilgrims, who was involved in hiring process and acted as front-man of accused persons Shakeel Ahmed Rao and Hamid Saeed Kazmi. He was also involved in the receipt of kickbacks from the building owners/Mustajirs. However, in the support of this hearsay evidence, no corroborative evidence could be collected from Saudi Arabia or from anywhere else that Ahmed Faiz had made any payment to Mr Kazmi. Hence, drawing a presumption against him, this much evidence would not be sufficient to establish the offence of criminal misconduct, punishable u/s 5 / (2) 47 PCA aginst Hamid Saeed Kazmi on this count.
Regarding Allegation No. 2, the report says that it has been established during investigation that 7098 seats were taken out of the balloting process in 2009 in clear violation of Cabinet Division for hardship cases. The Secretary Ministry of Religious Affairs and Deputy Director IT of the ministry have categorically alleged that this was the executive decision of minister himself resultantly 11 buildings, already hired for the pilgrims, remained vacant that caused the loss of Rs 200 million to national kitty as payment was already made by Pakistan Hajj Mission. There is no evidence on record to establish that 7098 seats were ousted from the allotting process by the ex-minister with malafide intention to provide free of charge accommodation to 200 pilgrims of Ministry of Interior. Regarding Allegation No 3, the report says that according to the findings of the IO, the assets/ properties acquired by Hamid Saeed Kazmi in his own name and in the name of his family members are found disproportionate to his known sources of income. Even considering undeclared 1/4th share out of 344 kanal land transferred in the name of Mr Kazmi, as gift, the remaining assets are disproportionate to his known sources of income which amounts to criminal misconduct u/s 5 (2) 47 PCA.
FIA’s Special Public Prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar told this reporter that the charges against Kazmi could not be substantiated during investigations of FIA because another main accused in the case, Ahmed Faiz, could not be arrested. He is still a proclaimed offender and could robe a string link to prove charges against Kazmi.