ISLAMABAD: Former establishment division secretary Ismail Qureshi, who was arrested during investigations into the alleged illegal appointment of an Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) official, was released from custody by an accountability court on Saturday.
Accountability Court-I Judge Muhammad Tariq Abbasi released Qureshi, saying he could not be kept in the custody if he had been cooperating with the National Accountability Bureau. Qureshi, in turn, submitted surety bonds saying he would cooperate with the investigation agency.
The investigations are in regard to the case of the appointment of the managing director of Ogra, allegedly in violation of rules and regulations.
The Supreme Court recently annulled Adnan Khawaja’s appointment as Ogra MD and ordered action against those who appointed him in violation of relevant rules and regulations.
NAB investigation officer Mohsin Ali asked the court to hand over the physical custody of Qureshi to the bureau for further interrogation for ordering the appointment.
Qureshi, on the other hand, told the court that he appointed Khawaja following ‘oral instructions’ from then cabinet division secretary Nargis Sethi on the directions of the Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani.
The investigation officer informed the court that Qureshi was arrested on January 12, in order to obtain from him a record in the matter of appointments.
He further said that Qureshi was not summoned for inquiry for questioning, and was arrested for interrogation.
In response, the judge observed that there was difference between inquiry and investigation and questioned that if Qureshi was cooperating with NAB at the inquiry stage, why had he been arrested.
The trial judge further directed both Qureshi and NAB to arrange a mechanism for regular appearances before bureau officials.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 15th, 2012.
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