The trial court in the Hajj corruption scam has fixed October 15 as the date to formally indict the main accused, former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi, and two other officials in a bid to officially commence the trial.
Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Special Judge Syed Ikhlaq Ahmed on Wednesday distributed copies of the interim charge sheet submitted by the FIA to former minister Kazmi, former director-general Hajj Rao Shakeel and former joint secretary ministry of religious affairs Raja Aftabul Islam in the court.
Furthermore, the trial court directed investigators to submit a complete investigation report by the next date of hearing and declared Ahmed Faiz, another accused, a proclaimed offender.
According to the FIA’s charges, former minister’s front man, Faiz, obtained residences for the pilgrims last year on high rates with poor facilities. The investigators alleged that Kazmi amassed assets beyond his declared sources of income and failed to satisfy the FIA investigators.
The two other officials had been accused of making poor and costly arrangements for the pilgrims and arranging residences in far-off areas in Makkah. Faiz is accused of renting out residences far away from Haram on extremely high rates and for allegedly receiving Rs180 million as kickbacks.
Investigators further said that there was a link between former minister Kazmi and Faiz, which could be proven through a recorded telephonic conversation between the two.
Published in The Express Tribune, October 6th, 2011.
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