NICL investigations: Probe chief returns to an empty office

FIA transfers 4 members of investigation team; Qureshi takes charge of his post, asks for them to be transferred back.

Asad Kharal July 03, 2011


On the same day that the Supreme Court reinstated Zafar Qureshi as the lead investigator of the National Insurance Company Ltd fraud, four members of his team at the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), who have been with the investigation since the beginning, have been transferred off the case.

In what appears to be a bid to create as much physical distance as possible between the four team members and Qureshi’s office in Lahore, the officers have been transferred to posts in Balochistan and Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa. Syed Javed Hussain Shah has been transferred to the FIA office in Dera Ismail Khan, Muhammad Ahmed Chaudhry to Turbat, Khalid Anees to Peshawar and Chaudhry Sarwar to Gwadar.

The orders were reportedly issued late on Friday, after the Supreme Court ordered Qureshi’s reinstatement as lead investigator in the NICL case. The orders bear the signature of FIA Administration Director Inam Ghani. All four officers have been notified that they were relieved from their current posts with immediate effect and have already left charge of their duties in the NICL case, sources familiar with the matter told The Express Tribune. The four officers were part of Qureshi’s team that uncovered the Rs320 million fraud at the NICL involving several leading politicians, including Punjab Assembly member Moonis Elahi, son of Pakistan Muslim League Quaid (PML-Q) leader and former Punjab Chief Minister Pervaiz Elahi.

Qureshi himself, meanwhile, has taken charge of his old position following a Supreme Court order on Friday that reinstated him as lead investigator into the NICL scam. Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani had reportedly refused to reinstate him to the position.

On his first day back, Qureshi has written letters to acting FIA Director General Syed Tahseen Anwar Shah and the interior secretary, asking them to withdraw the transfer orders of his team members.  Copies of both letters were sent to the Supreme Court registrar.

Meanwhile, Moonis Elahi on Friday filed a petition with the banking court, requesting an acquittal, arguing that the prosecution’s key witnesses have said nothing that would incriminate him.

Earlier, eight prosecution witnesses, recording their statements before Magistrate Irfan Basra, denied giving any statement to the FIA and said that Elahi had nothing to do with the fraudulent financial transactions that were being investigated.

Muhammad Maalik, a manager at one of the companies owned by Elahi, had initially told the FIA that he had opened an account on behalf of his boss, Moonis. However, he later retracted that statement and the eight witnesses called in by the magistrate also refused to corroborate the earlier story by Maalik.

Javed Shah, one of Qureshi’s team members, sent a letter to the FIA director general requesting action against the witnesses who retracted their statements, but the FIA chief has yet to move forward on the matter.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 3rd, 2011.


SHUJA | 10 years ago | Reply Nothing new in this game..Every ONE involved is biased.Hats off to all players who ever he may be.
Iftikhar-ur-Rehman | 10 years ago | Reply All moves being made to release the "YOUNGER CROOK" of PML Q
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