SHC issues notices on Dr Asim's plea against indictment

Former petroleum minister is facing trial in accountability court in Rs17 billion reference

Our Correspondent February 10, 2018

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) issued on Friday notices to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and others on Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Dr Asim Hussain's plea to restrain the accountability court from framing charges against him in a Rs17 billion corruption reference.

A two-judge bench, headed by SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, sought their comments by March 2.

Dr Asim, a close aide to PPP Co-Chairperson and former president Asif Ali Zardari, has been facing charges of committing massive corruption during his tenure as the federal minister for petroleum and natural resources in the previous PPP government.

He had approached the SHC against the rejection of his application against his indictment by an accountability court in the graft reference.

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The petitioner informed the bench that the federal anti-graft watchdog had filed the reference on the basis of fake documents. Therefore, it would be unfair to frame charges against him in the case, he argued.

The PPP leader requested the SHC to restrain the accountability court from framing charges against him. He also requested the court to order quashing of the graft reference against him.

The identical petitions were also filed by two co-accused Iqbal Z Ahmed and Zuhair Siddiqui against their indictment.

NAB had alleged in the reference that Dr Asim Hussain along with others was involved in the corruption of Rs17 billion in the award of illegal contracts for five gas fields in Sindh to Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL), a private company dealing with a liquefied natural gas plant.

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The federal anti-graft watchdog had alleged that the Sui Southern Gas Company's (SSGC) former managing directors (MD) Azeem Iqbal Siddiqui, Zuhair Ahmed Siddiqui and Shoaib Warsi, serving MD Khalid Rehman and others were involved in misappropriating funds of the SSGC and Oil and Gas Development Company Limited through providing illegal benefits to the JJVL in 2011 onwards.

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