KARACHI: An accountability court asked for arguments on Saturday over the plea filed by former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain’s seeking permission to travel abroad. Dr Hussain and others are accused of involvement in a corruption reference of Rs462 billion.
Dr Hussain, along with the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) witness, Wasiq Sheikh, and other accused appeared before the court.
The witness stated that he received a letter from NAB in October 2016. He said that at that time he was working as the finance general manager at Ziauddin Hospital. NAB sought details about the accounts and property in the letter. He said that he collected the record from related departments and submitted it to NAB.
Dr Hussain’s counsel argued that the documents attached with the witness’s statement were not provided to them. The court remarked that they would be provided copies of the documents, adding that NAB’s prosecution lacked appropriate assistance. The court remarked that there was only one person and asked how he alone could handle all the things.
Dr Hussain filed a plea requesting permission to travel abroad from January 28 to February 28 for medical treatment.
In the hearing of another case of Rs17 billion corruption reference against Dr Hussain and others, an accountability court sought more witnesses for the next hearing.
Dr Hussain and other accused appeared before the court. The statement of the witness, Muhammad Taj, was cross-examined.
The counsel for Dr Hussain asked Taj how many times the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) team visited his office. The witness said that the inquiry team visited his office three to four times and asked various questions. He added that he did not have custody of the record presented by NAB. The court sought more witnesses, Anwar Sahito and Shoaib Ahmed, for the next hearing on January 26.
JIT report sought
Meanwhile, an anti-terrorism court ordered the home department and SSP to submit the complete Joint Investigation Team (JIT) report of Dr Hussain in the case pertaining to provision of medical treatment to terrorists. Dr Hussain along with other accused, Anees Qaim Khani, Rauf Siddiqi and Usman Muazzam, appeared before the court.
The counsel for Karachi Mayor Wasim Akhter filed a plea requesting exemption from the court on medical grounds. The counsel for Abdul Qadir Patel also filed a plea for exemption as his client had gone to Islamabad to attend the assembly session. The court was also informed that the investigation officer (IO) had gone to Saudi Arabia to offer Umrah.
The court granted one-day exemption to Patel.
The special public prosecutor Sajid Mehboob Sheikh argued that the missing documents from the JIT report could not be found. The court ordered the home department and the head of JIT to submit a complete JIT report and adjourned the hearing till February 23.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 20th, 2019.