Eight employees of the Allied Bank Limited (ABL), named by the Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) as witnesses in the National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) land scam against Moonis Elahi, on Wednesday recorded their statements before a judicial magistrate denying having testified before the FIA.
Meanwhile, the FIA Punjab chapter on Wednesday again failed to submit a complete challan against Elahi before a special banking offences court.
ABL Airport branch employees Umar Farooq Dhami, Nadia Faisal and Liaquat Ali and Yateem Khana branch employees Hina Rabbani, Khwaja Junaid, Shaukat and two others appeared before a magistrate, Irfan Basra.
They requested the court to record their statements under Section 164 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), 1898, under which a magistrate has the power to record statements and confessions.
The FIA, however, said that the eight employees had earlier recorded their statements before the FIA investigation team under Section 161 of the CrPC, which empowers the police to examine witnesses.
The witnesses accused the FIA of adding their names to the list of witnesses in the NICL scam without informing them. They denied making any statements to the FIA team.
On an earlier application by the witnesses, the court had summoned FIA to produce Elahi and the investigation officers. On Wednesday, Investigation Officer Sarwar produced Elahi before the court.
The witnesses said that the FIA had sought bank records from them to aid the investigation procedure, which, they said, were provided. They alleged that the FIA investigation team had forcibly got their thumb prints on blank papers.
Later, they said, the same papers were filled in with statements by the team and used against Elahi.
They also claimed that they had never met or dealt with Elahi before.
They asked the court to record their statements.
Meanwhile, the submission of a complete challan against Elahi by the FIA team is still pending.
Elahi’s counsel, requested the court to provide copies of the case record to his client. He said that the FIA did not have any ‘concrete’ evidence against his client and that he (Elahi) had been implicated for political reasons.
The court then adjourned the hearing for May 31 and directed the FIA to submit a complete challan against Elahi.
Published in The Express Tribune, May 26th, 2011.