Ex-NADRA chief’s alleged corruption: IHC seeks explanation over FIR

Published: April 21, 2017

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Thursday ordered a director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to appear in person before the court and explain under what law a chairman of the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRA) was booked by the investigation agency.

Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui ordered the FIA Islamabad Director Mazharul Haq Kakakhail to ensure his presence in the court at the next hearing of the case.

The directions came in response to a petition from NADRA’s former chairman Imtiaz Tajwar, a BPS grade 22 public servant, which claimed that no prior permission had been sought from the Federal Anti-Corruption Council to launch an inquiry or to register an FIR against him.

In addition, the petitioner said, no prior permission had been obtained from the president, who approved Tajwar’s appointment as deputy chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), which was a violation of the constitution and NAB ordinance, 1999.

In October 2016, the Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan had ordered the FIA to formally investigate Tajwar for alleged irregularities for the time he was at the helm of NADRA.

The FIA Corporate Crime Circle Islamabad had subsequently booked Tajwar and two others under sections 409, 109 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5(2)47 of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, at the FIA Corporate Crime Circle police station.

Tajwar, through his counsel Shah Khawar, had subsequently approached the IHC requesting it to quash the FIR registered against him for committing alleged irregularities.

He further alleged that the FIA had booked him merely on the ‘whims and wishes’ of certain senior officials in the interior ministry.

“Inquiry and registration of case are not only illegal from its very inception but carried out on the whims and wishes of the high-ups sitting in the echelons of the Ministry of Interior for the reasons best known to them,” Khawar had stated in his petition.

Further, Khawar said that the FIR had been lodged with mala-fide intention while eroding the provisions of the FIA Act, 1974, and the FIA (Inquiries and Investigation) Rules, 2002, and is liable to be quashed.

The counsel said that the alleged corruption dates back to 2014/15 but an inquiry was not initiated till September 2016. Khawar added that at the time, Tajwar was serving as an additional secretary in the ministry of Interior and was given additional charge of NADRA chairman on January 13, 2014, till the appointment of a regular chairman – appointed February 2016.

Khawar added that during the period, Tajwar was promoted in BPS-22 on October 17, 2014, and was posted as Executive Director at the National Vocational & Training Commission.

In addition, Khawar maintained that when the petitioner held the charge as chairman NADRA, the national database authority earned a record profit of Rs3.8 billion.

Moreover, the lawyer stated that Tajwar did not draw any salary or allowance while serving in NADRA.

Besides, he said, not a single observation or audit para was pointed out towards any irregularity or illegality in two audit reports of NADRA.

“The petitioner has been accused because of political victimisation and character assassination,” the petition read.

He urged prayed the court to declare the FIR unlawful and same may be quashed.

Previously, Justice Siddiqui had suspended the FIR registered against Tajwar and had restrained the FIA from investigating the head of a key public institution till a final decision in the case is issued.

The court would now take up the case on April 26.

Published in The Express Tribune, April 21st, 2017.

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