Court rejects NAB’s plea for custody of Sharjeel Memon

Judge directs NAB to state in writing that jail authorities refused to execute arrest warrant


Our Correspondent June 23, 2019
PPP leader Sharjeel Memon. PHOTO: PPI

KARACHI: An accountability court rejected on Saturday the plea by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) requesting custody and permission to interrogate the former provincial minister Sharjeel Inam Memon, who is currently in prison. The court, however, gave permission to execute the warrant for his arrest inside the jail.

The administrative judge of Karachi's accountability courts heard the plea requesting custody of Memon for interrogation in another NAB inquiry. The court asked NAB's prosecutor if they could interrogate the former minister inside the prison to which, the prosecutor replied that jail authorities had restricted them from interrogating him inside their premises. He informed that the authorities had told him they need to acquire an order from the court.

The prosecutor further said that the arrest warrant for Memon has been issued in the other inquiry and that they only want permission to execute these orders.

The court remarked that court no. 1 has custody of Memon and it is currently closed on account of summer vacations. The court inquired how court no.3 could then grant permission instead of court no. 1. The prosecutor for NAB argued that it was important that they interrogate Memon.

The defence lawyer, Advocate Shaukat Hayat, argued that the laws were clear and a prisoner cannot be handed over to any investigation agency. He added that if they want to interrogate Memon, they can do it inside the prison. Hayat said that NAB was violating laws and NAB officials should explain why they need to conduct an interrogation. They want to get an illegal order passed by the court by omitting facts, he added.

NAB's prosecutor maintained that the orders of higher courts are present and the court is bound to issue a No Objection Certificate (NOC). He added that they do not have the authority to interrogate Memon inside the prison without the court's permission. It will be illegal if the investigation officer interrogated the former minister without the court's permission, he said and requested that the court give them custody of Memon.

The court remarked that NAB should inform the court in writing that they went to the jail but the jail authorities refused to let them follow through with the execution of the arrest warrant. He added that NAB officials should submit their arguments with an affidavit based on which the court will then make a decision.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 23rd, 2019.

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