SC stops NAB from probing Arsalan case
Posted on 9 months ago
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday stopped the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from probing the case of alleged business deal between Dr. Iftikhar Arslan, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and appointed a one-man commission of Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr. Muhammad Shoaib Suddle to investigate the matter and submit report within 30 days.
A two-member bench of the apex court, comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, in its 17-page order authored by Justice Khawaja, directed NAB to stop investigation into the case and appointed Dr Suddle with the status of a judicial officer and with authority to use government machinery for the job. He will have the power to call witnesses and take the help of law enforcement agencies.
The court gave its ruling in response to a petition filed by Dr. Arsalan Iftikhar, who had claimed that the NAB was not conducting a free and fair investigation. The bench directed NAB to handover all record of the case to Dr Suddle.
The bench authorized the commission to collect evidence and also allowed him to travel, if need be, outside the country in this regard.
Dr Suddle would also investigate the protocol given to Malik Riaz by two police officers when the real estate tycoon had appeared before the Supreme Court on July 31.
The bench also issued a notice to Attorney General Irfan Qadir for acting beyond the court's directives. The bench ruled that the attorney General had overstepped his authority in approaching NAB for the investigation. The attorney general was directed to "set the machinery of the state in motion". However, the bench noted that by approaching NAB he had exceeded the instructions and in this exercise NAB also "lost its credibility".
The bench also declared NAB's letters to the Supreme Court Registrar were illegal.
In light of the June 14 order, the Attorney General had ordered the formation of a joint-investigation team (JIT) headed by Director General of NAB Financial Crimes Investigation Wing Kauser Iqbal Malik to look into the matter.
The apex court had directed the Attorney General to decide who would probe the allegations levelled against Arsalan Iftikhar by real the estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain. Subsequently, the Attorney General had asked tNAB to conduct a probe into the matter. During the hearing of the case, Malik Riaz Hussain's counsel Zahid Bukhari had argued that no proof was produced to establish that NAB Chairman Fasih Bukhari was biased in the case of Arsalan Iftikhar.
He said the investigation could not be transferred to any other body on the basis of mere allegations.
In a statement submitted with the Supreme Court, Malik Riaz claimed that his relatives had extended favours to Dr Arsalan besides a total cash payment of Rs 342.5 million. He also alleged that he was being blackmailed by Arsalan Iftikhar. It is pertinent to mention here that Arsalan Iftikhar had filed a review petition challenging the Supreme Court's order of June 14 regarding corruption allegations against him by Malik Riaz. Counsel of Arsalan Iftikhar Advocate Ishaq Khan told the court that his client had no faith in the inquiry being carried out by the NAB.
Agencies add: The (Court) order also stated that the that Irfan Qadir had served as counsel to Malik Riaz in the past was kept hidden from the court.. On this, Zahid Bukhari said that Sardar Ishaq had also served as his lawyer.
The SC on Tuesday had reserved its judgment on Dr Arsalan's review petition challenging its June 14 order relating to allegations of a business deal between him and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.s as his lawyer.
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