KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday summoned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Karachi director-general (DG) and NAB Deputy Director Afsar Gul Afridi on April 12 over issuing fake call up notices to an accused.
A two-member bench, headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Ahmed Ali Sheikh and comprising Justice Omar Sial, was hearing the plea filed by Shamshad Ali.
The issue of fake call up notices being issued by NAB was revealed in the court when NAB prosecutor Khalid Awan informed that the call up notice which was sent to the accused Shamshad Ali was fake. The CJ expressed annoyance with NAB for sending fake call up notices and said that there must be someone who is doing such things. He inquired whether it was a NAB official doing this and if so then why the person wasn't held accountable for this.
The NAB prosecutor argued that the investigation officer (IO) who was involved in issuing the call up notice had been transferred. The court excluded the accused Shamshad Ali from the case and remarked that the accused has been released but the person who issued the fake notice will not be spared.
Shoro's bail extended
The same bench extended the pre-arrest bail on Wednesday of former local government minister and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Jam Khan Shoro till April 30.
The court had granted bail to Shoro on March 14 against a surety of Rs500,000.
SHC warns NAB officials of contempt proceedings
The NAB IO informed the court that the board has agreed to file references against Shoro and others for causing a huge loss to the national exchequer. ''Plots were illegally allotted on Shoro's instructions by the Karachi Development Authority (KDA) officials,'' the IO said. He assured the court that the reference will soon be presented before the court.
The court extended the protective bail of former minister and adjourned the hearing till April 30.
According to officials of NAB, the former minister is facing inquiries in three different cases: illegal allotment of 62 government plots in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, Karachi, encroaching 262 acres of land in Thatta and setting up of a petrol station on the land of a water hydrant in Hyderabad's Qasimabad area.
Another bail extended
The same bench extended the interim bail on Wednesday of another PPP leader Hakeem Baloch till April 23 in NAB inquiry for making illegal assets.
NAB's IO informed the court that the investigations were still ongoing. The court, extending the interim bail, directed Baloch to appear before NAB's investigation team.
Nasir Abbas case
The same bench expressed annoyance with the current KDA DG for not appearing before the court for the bail plea hearing of illegal allotment of land against former KDA DG Nasir Abbas.
The court remarked that the junior officer they have sent to court will get nervous in just two questions. Grade 19 officials are included in the accused while a grade 17 officials have been sent to talk against them.
The CJ bashed the officials saying that they have taken the court as a joke and added that the DG's presence on the next hearing must be assured. The court also inquired about the actual owners of the plots and their stance, but the NAB officials informed the court that they could not be contacted yet as their addresses in the investigation report seem to be fake.
The court remarked that their NIC numbers are available in the records. The cards should be blocked so that they come themselves.
The court adjourned the bail plea hearing for two weeks.
Illegal land allotment
The same bench directed the NAB IO on Wednesday to file the reference within two months related to a case against building a housing society on land in Malir allotted through fake documents.
The bail plea was filed by accused Abdullah Alvi related to building of a housing society by allotting land over fake documents in Malir. The IO appeared before the court and said that the inquiry against the accused was ongoing, therefore further time was required to file the reference.
The CJ remarked that NAB seeks records from the accused but what will happen if the accused fooled NAB. The IO said that he had personally carried out the investigations and found evidence against the accused and a reference will be filed within two months after completing inquiry. The accused allotted the land for housing society in Malir through fake documents as the land doesn't exist.
The court, accepting the IO's request, granted extension to the IO to file the reference and adjourned the hearing.
The SHC approved the bail plea on Wednesday of Sindh Police's Finance Department former additional inspector-general (AIG) Fida Hussain, against a surety of Rs100,000 in petrol bills' corruption reference.
Hussain said that trial court had acquitted him over the lack of evidence in the corruption reference, but NAB had filed another reference against him.
The SHC issued notices on Wednesday to the federal government, treasury department, Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman and other parties over the plea filed against the increase in rates of petroleum products by the Centre.
SHC directs Ali Jahangir to surrender to NAB
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar and Justice Agha Faisal, was hearing the plea filed by Maulvi Iqbal Haider, in which he argued that the increase in rates was in violation of Article 77 of the Constitution. The government could not increase the rates without the approval of parliament. The government has done injustice with the people by using its discretionary authority and should be ordered to take back its decision.
The court, seeking replies from parties by April 24, adjourned the hearing.
Money laundering case
The SHC rejected the appeal filed by Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) against the acquittal of Khanani and Kalia officials in the money laundering case of billions of rupees.
A two-member bench, comprising Justice Aftab Gorar and Justice Amjad Ali Sahito, was hearing the plea on Wednesday filed by FIA against the release of Khanani and Kalia officials.
The court, expressing annoyance over FIA officials' performance, inquired what was wrong in the verdict given by the sub-ordinate court.
The FIA lawyers failed to answer the court's questions. The court, rejecting the FIA's appeal due to bad performance, adjourned the hearing.
The billions of rupees money laundering case was filed against Khanani and Kalia money exchange in 2008. A banking court had acquitted Manaf Kalia, Haneef Kalia and Javed Kalia due to the absence of evidence.
Published in The Express Tribune, April 4th, 2019.