ISLAMABAD - Avoiding the impression of bias expressed by the chief justice’s son, the NAB has disbanded the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) and decided to conduct an inquiry, consisting of its own members to probe the matter about the alleged business deal between Malik Riaz Hussain and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

The NAB also told the Supreme Court it had no objection over transferring the case of Arsalan to any other investigation agency, if the court wanted to do so. A two-member bench, comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, on Thursday heard a review petition filed by the counsel for the CJP’s son against the court’s June 14 order over an alleged business deal between Malik Riaz and Arsalan in an attempt to influence the judicial process.

Maintaining its July 31 stay order over the NAB’s inquiry team, the court directed the petitioner’s counsel Sardar Ishaq to examine the NAB’s offer regarding the formation of new inquiry team and submit his response in this regard today (Friday).

During the hearing, NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha said three principle concerns had been raised in the court by the petitioner related to inquiry team. Firstly, the letter written by the Attorney General for Pakistan on June 28; secondly, the inclusion of JIT’s two members namely SP Islamabad Faisal Memon and FIA Director Nasrullah Gondal and thirdly the CCTV footage that was placed on the last date of hearing on July 31.

In view of these reservations by Arsalan, the NAB PG said they decided to avoid the perception of bias and impartiality; therefore, it had removed Faisal Memon and Nasrullah Gondal from the NAB’s inquiry team as now the JIT no longer existed after the removal of these two officers. He stated the NAB had decided that inquiry into the matter would be conducted by its own officers as there was no serious allegation on the third member, Kausar Iqbal Malik; therefore, he would lead the investigation.

“The only allegation against Kausar Iqbal is that he owns his house in Bahria Town, but this does not make bias to him,” he added. Agha further said if the apex court still wanted to transfer the inquiry to any other agency, the NAB had no objection in this regard.

During the course of proceedings, SP Islamabad Faisal Memon has submitted his reply over his alleged relation with business tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and he seemed to be giving him a ‘protocol’ during his first appearance before the court on June 12.

The bench also expressed its annoyance over the interior secretary for not submitting report with his own signature and directed him to appear in person today (Friday).

Meanwhile, the court also disposed of Malik Riaz’ petition and directed the lower courts as well as investigation agencies to deal his cases without being influence from the SC proceedings.

It rejected the plea by Malik Riaz’ counsel, Zahid Bokhari, to issue restraining order for not arresting his client till the apex court’s decision in this matter. Bokhari said the lower courts were getting impression that the Supreme Court was against his client.

The bench told him that Riaz had obtained productive bail of four weeks from the Sindh High Court, which was a big relief for him. The learned counsel replied if they had approached for productive bail in Lahore High Court then it was not possible.