QUETTA: An accountability court in Quetta on Monday returned the plea bargain application of former finance secretary Mushtaq Raisani following his offer to return Rs2 billion to the national exchequer.
Judge Abdul Majeed Nasar of Accountability Court II returned the plea bargain agreement application with some objections after hearing the investigation officer and the prosecutor. According to NAB sources, around four to five objections were pointed out by the court.
On December 30, an accountability court asked the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation officer and prosecutor to submit records regarding former finance secretary Raisani’s plea bargain agreement.
NAB’s office in Balochistan announced on December 23 that it intended to file references against Raisani and a contractor Sohail Majeed Shah despite approval of a plea bargain deal with the accused in a mega corruption case.
Earlier, the top anti-graft watchdog accepted the accused’s plea bargain applications after they offered to return Rs2 billion to the national exchequer.
Raisani was taken into custody on May 6, 2016 after a NAB team recovered sensitive documents and Rs603m in cash in a raid at his residence. On May 9, NAB arrested government official Sohail Majeed for allegedly facilitating Raisani’s crimes.
According to NAB authorities, Raisani and contractor Sohail Majeed had submitted plea bargain applications which were approved during the conference of the executive board with NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry in the chair in Islamabad. The accused, who have confessed to their crime, are willing to return Rs2 billion to the national exchequer.
A huge amount to the tune of Rs2.25 billion had been released for local government development – but the lion’s share was allegedly embezzled by Raisani and his cronies.
‘NAB bound to exercise plea bargain’
Meanwhile, Chairman NAB Qamar Zaman Chaudhry said that the authority is bound to exercise plea bargain on the application of a convict in following the relevant law.
He made these remarks while addressing a meeting of senior editors and reporters organised by Council of Pakistan Newspaper Editors (CPNE) on Monday.
According to Chaudhry, the amount relating to Balochistan finance department corruption case stood at Rs2.2billion and not Rs40billion.
Chaudhry said that almost every country of the world has plea bargain law and the same is the case with Pakistan, saying NAB has recovered an amount of Rs 285 billion during its last 16 years while exercising this law.
He said NAB also handed over a handsome amount to the victims of several scams. Plea bargain, however, is not a practice to give a “free hand” to anyone as a government official is removed from his position, an elected member of a public office is declared ineligible for 10 years while a businessman loses whichever facility he misused.
Chairman NAB said that no case in the authority is investigated by a single officer, but a four-member Combined Investigation Team (CIT) leading to further action.