ISLAMABAD: An accountability court will indict Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in corruption a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau on the direction of the Supreme Court in the Panamagate case.
Dar’s attorney said his client appeared in court Monday after flying back from London and would be indicted on Wednesday. “My client denies any wrongdoing,” Amjad Pervez said.
Finance czar: Double whammy for Ishaq Dar
The Accountability Court Islamabad says it will indict Dar in a NAB reference on September 27. “The court intends to conduct daily hearings in the reference, so that the trial is concluded within the stipulated time of six months,” said Judge Muhammad Bashir, while issuing copies of the reference and other material.
The court, meanwhile, turned down a request of the defence lawyer for more time to frame charges [indictment] on the ground that “bulk of the record has to be perused in a brief period of time”.
Judge Bashir quipped, “Will you plead guilty when charges would be framed?” implying that Dar would definitely plead not guilty and stand trial.
“[A lot of] time has already been wasted,” the judge added. “The court has to conclude the trial within six months as per the Supreme Court’s directions.”
Dar’s legacy: a heavily-indebted Pakistan
“If a month is spent on sifting through the record, then how would the court conclude the trial?” the judge asked.
To this Pervez replied, “Just asking for one week, me lord.”
“This is enough,” Judge Bashir replied and fixed Sept 27 date for framing charges against Dar while supplying copies under Section 265C of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC).
When the case was taken up, the court asked NAB officials why they did not execute the bailable arrest warrants against the finance minister. The prosecution team replied that the bureau’s teams had raided Dar’s addresses in Lahore and Islamabad to arrest him but failed.
The stance is in total contrast to the NAB spokesperson’s earlier statement in which he had stated that no raid was conducted at Dar’s residences anywhere in the country and that “the team had gone specifically to deliver the court notice”.
The prosecution added: “All of a sudden, he [the accused] appeared before the court today.”
Sending data on Dar to NAB costs NADRA officer his job
To this, Pervez said: “Dar has appeared before the court in compliance with the earlier issued bailable arrest warrants against him and submitted bonds worth Rs1 million as previously directed by the court.”
While accepting the bail surety, the court ordered Dar to submit additional bond of Rs5 million under Section 91 of the CrPC for ensuring his presence during the trial.
According to the NAB reference, “The accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his name and/or in the name of his dependants of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million as per the investigation conducted so far”.
The assets are “disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.