Verdict reserved on maintainability of reference against Siraj Durrani

Published: June 18, 2019
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Agha Siraj Durrani. PHOTO: FILE

Agha Siraj Durrani. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: An Accountability Court (AC) reserved its ruling on the maintainability of a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against Speaker Sindh Assembly, Agha Siraj Durrani. The court said that it will announce the verdict on July 1.

The court was hearing a reference filed by the NAB against Durrani about his assets beyond known sources of income.

The jail authorities produced Durrani before the court. His counsel, Raheel Niazi advocate, gave arguments against the reference and maintained that the assets mentioned in the reference were not illegal. Durrani possesses ancestral properties and owns rice and sugar mills. He argued that his client’s sources of income had not been mentioned in the reference. “Neither the ice factory, rice factory nor his father’s land has been mentioned,” he said. The counsel also submitted documents relating to the land of Durrani.

The counsel further argued that the NAB had not sent a call-up notice to the speaker as required under Section 90 of NAB ordinance, which says that issuing call-up notice is necessary. He said a questionnaire was sent, when inquiries were initiated against Nawaz Sharif and Asif Ali Zardari. “NAB did not conduct any investigation after the arrest of Durrani neither was he given a questionnaire.”

Plaintiff Maulana Syed Aziz Ahmed Amrohi had written a letter to the NAB Chairman against Durrani maintaining that soon after becoming the provincial local government minister, he set up a money making factory. He said that Durrani earned millions through commissions.

Durrani’s counsel said that according to media reports, NAB recovered 2kg gold from Durrani’s residence. “Does NAB function on the evidences of media? No inquiry was conducted nor was any notice served on Durrani.”

The NAB had recently filed a reference against Durrani and others. The NAB had included 20 names including Durrani, his wife, son, daughters and employers as accused in the reference filed in an accountability court in Karachi after an inquiry, which continued for three months and 10 days. However, Durrani has been in jail on judicial remand.

According to NAB reference and charge-sheet, illegal assets were bought and sold in the name of employees of Durrani whose gunman, driver and several employees have been named in the reference. There is a detail of assets worth Rs 1.6 billion in the reference.

The NAB executive board had approved filing of a reference against Durrani in an assets beyond means case.

Witnesses summoned

An accountability court has summoned more witnesses in the case of illegal appointments in the police department. One of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) witnesses, SP Erum Awan, recorded her statement on Monday and was cross-examined by the defence councils.

Former IG Ghulam Haider Jamali and several other suspects appeared before the court. The court summoned more witnesses at the next hearing on July 11 and adjourned the hearing.

Sharjeel Memon case

Another accountability court has directed the counsel for suspects to continue his arguments on statement of witness today (Tuesday) in the reference of corruption of Rs5.76bn in information department.

Prison officials produced ex-provincial minister Sharjeel Memon and another suspect in the court. The council for suspects presented arguments on the statement of the NAB witness. The court, while directing the lawyers to continue arguments today, adjourned the hearing. 

Published in The Express Tribune, June 18th, 2019.

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