Investigating the scam: Committee exonerated Bilour but chief convinced otherwise

Published: March 30, 2012

The federal minister is accused of mass irregularities and gross violations in purchase of 75 locomotives from a Chinese firm under an agreement, worth $115 million, signed in 2009. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

A Cabinet committee has exonerated Railways Minister Ghulam Ahmed Bilour of financial corruption charges but the head of the committee is convinced that Bilour is guilty of fraud.

The federal minister is accused of mass irregularities and gross violation of rules and procedures in purchase of 75 locomotives from a Chinese firm under an agreement, worth $115 million, signed in 2009.

“I don’t know how the Cabinet committee formed its opinion to acquit the railways minister,” Sheikh Waqas Akram, a state minister in the federal cabinet and chairman of the committee, told The Express Tribune.

“Bilour made a confessional statement before the committee that he had violated the rules and procedures in the deal,” he said. “I will write a 5-page dissenting note against the cabinet committee’s judgment that vindicated the minister,” he said, adding that he is convinced that Bilour is responsible for the ‘plunder.’

“There is no doubt that Bilour is fully responsible for the financial corruption,” he said.

Bilour’s defence

Bilour has rejected the allegations against him.

The railways minister told The Express Tribune that the Federal Investigation Agency had interrogated him for corruption charges. The agency not only absolved him of the charges, but also wrote a comprehensive report in his favour, he had said.

The committee’s report is yet to be presented before the federal cabinet.

“The committee is waiting for my dissenting note,” Akram said.  The committee chairman also claimed that he was personally approached by Asfandyar Wali Khan, chief of Awami National Party (ANP), who asked him to forgive Bilour.

“Asfandyar tried his best to convince me to write a favourable report for Bilour who is a top leader of the ANP.” Public relations officer of the railways minister, Zulfiqar Toru, however, rejected Waqas’s claim that Asfandyar had asked him to be lenient to Bilour.

Previous admissions

Earlier, PR chairman Javed Ahmed had conceded before a two-member Supreme Court bench in November 2011 that rules and regulations were violated in purchase of 75 locomotives.

The chairman had submitted a detailed report before Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan who were hearing a suo motu case about non-payment of salaries and pension to employees and workers of PR.

Former railways minister Shaikh Rashid Ahmed, who was allowed by the SC to become a party in the case, had also told the court that rules and regulations were relaxed on the intervention of a top personality of the country for purchase of 75 locomotives.

The Cabinet committee was constituted by Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani on reports that the railways minister was responsible for huge financial losses to his ministry.

The committee, comprising federal ministers Rehman Malik and Manzoor Wattoo, had charge-sheeted Bilour with seven allegations in procurement of 75 locomotives.

Published in The Express Tribune, March 30th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (17)

  • Nadeem
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:33AM

    Famous Chinese proverb “The fish rots from head down”. Do something about head

    Recommend

  • SK - Salman
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:34AM

    The public needs to study what happened in the French Revolution, though it is an event 223 years old. They will find surprising similarities of all the top honchos colluding with each other to devour the public money and resources. They are living in luxury and driving vehicles worth crores of rupees and living in palaces while the public is barely scraping by. Similar circumstances demand similar solutions. Read why the use of guillotine was so prevalent during the French Revolution and you will begin to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Also read: “Hum Dekhenge” by Faiz Sahib, our finest revolutionary poet, a like of whom does not come but in centuries.

    Recommend

  • Imran Mohammad
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:35AM

    The committee, comprising federal
    ministers Rehman Malik and Manzoor
    Wattoo

    Give me a break !!! Who is investigating who. ANP is turning out to be most sold out, corrupt party ever. It used to be a good principled party.

    Recommend

  • A. Khan
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:36AM

    A classic example of crooks supporting one of their own. It takes guts for the committee to go against all those people. Also exposes the ANP for what they really are; a crooked party masquerading as a nationalist one.

    I never had any good impressions for Wali clan but Asfandyar’s alleged efforts to “forgive” Bilour are beyond the pale, specially since Bilour has supposedly confessed. What can you expect from someone who’s mother was arrested for shoplifting lingerie in UK.

    Sad, sad state of affairs in Pakistan. How many more such cases are there ?

    Recommend

  • Dar
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:51AM

    ‘When once a republic is corrupted, there is no possibility of remedying any of the growing evils but by removing the corruption and restoring its lost principles; every other correction is either useless or a new evil.’

    Recommend

  • Hafeez
    Mar 30, 2012 - 5:56AM

    “I don’t know how the Cabinet committee formed its opinion to acquit the railways minister,” Sheikh Waqas Akram. How come you were heading a committee when you don’t know how the members were making decisions. Pathetic!

    “I will write a 5-page dissenting note against the cabinet committee’s judgment that vindicated the minister,” he said. Why a 5-page dissenting note, why not 1, 2, 3 or 4..or 10 pages.

    Recommend

  • Kemal
    Mar 30, 2012 - 6:01AM

    Mr Bilour the railway minister of ANP should be awarded exemplary punishment and “C” Class jail term for his plunder of Pakistan Railway.

    Recommend

  • HADI SAKEY
    Mar 30, 2012 - 6:06AM

    The General Manager of Railways has been nabbed by NAB. The big fish has been
    .exonerated. Why? Because they are immune.. This is called selected application of Law.
    If you apply the law selectively the order disappears. Heaven helps Pakistan.

    HADI SAKEY

    Recommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 30, 2012 - 6:26AM

    Pakistan was not destined to have a Railway. Look at all the Muslim countries without Railways. There people travel maybe by foot but they do travel. The British were fools to build them, it was for their own use, not for ours. Good riddance to Railway..Recommend

  • Sufi
    Mar 30, 2012 - 7:33AM

    The previous chairman railways name is Javed Iqbal, and not Javed Ahmed. He is widely regarded as an honest and upright senior civil servant. Unfortunately, serving his term as an OSD these days.

    Recommend

  • Omer
    Mar 30, 2012 - 8:38AM

    Only true Islamic system can provide justice for all with examplary punishments. That is the only way to move forward and eradicate all this mass corruption and that includes women rights also. You really think PPP, ANP, PML, MQM etc. will do something positive!!!

    Recommend

  • Jade
    Mar 30, 2012 - 9:11AM

    The comittee might as well declare that Pakistan railways has become the best railway in the world. Nobody will dispute that given the Government’s mindset.

    Recommend

  • vaqar
    Mar 30, 2012 - 9:20AM

    @Billo Bhaiya.

    Silly logic!

    Recommend

  • Hafiz Shah Ali
    Mar 30, 2012 - 9:38AM

    People are now sick and tired of massive corruptions and people at top getting away “Scott free”.

    Where is justice,who will protect the national wealth and interest of the common citizen?.

    Railway has been destroyed,why does the Minister not take the responsibility and resign?.

    Recommend

  • adnan
    Mar 30, 2012 - 9:50AM

    in this democracy expecting justice is like living in foolish paradise.this is the punishment by god to this dormant nation

    Recommend

  • waqar
    Mar 30, 2012 - 9:55AM

    good luck pakistan.
    may you have more fruits of politics of reconciliationRecommend

  • Billoo Bhaya
    Mar 30, 2012 - 1:07PM

    @vaqar:
    That is called sarcasm Mister.

    Recommend

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