ISLAMABAD.: The Supreme Court on Wednesday inquired about where had the Asset Recovery Unit (ARU) received funds from for initiating an investigation against Justice Qazi Faez Isa.
The question was raised by Justice Maqbool Baqar as a 10-judge full-court, led by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, resumed hearing of the case pertaining to the presidential reference against Justice Isa
Muneer A Malik, Justice Isa’s counsel, raised questions about the legal status of the ARU.
He said Special Assistant to the PM on Accountability Shahzad Akbar had conducted an investigation against a judge and his family without any legal authority to do so and accessed classified information about their tax details.
“The reference was prepared after illegally collecting material against him. It has been conceded in the reference that ARU had received a complaint against the judge and the chairman of the unit took it to the law minister rather than the prime minister or the cabinet,” he added.
Justice Isa’s lawyer further said the investigation was started on the instructions of the law minister. “My client was called and asked to provide details of his assets. He provided online documents of the house in London,” he added.
A letter was written to Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) chairman seeking tax details of the judge and his family. The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Database and Registration Authority (NADRa) were also given similar instructions.
The lawyer said in addition, a private agency was hired in London to conduct an investigation against the judge.
“An investigation cannot be conducted illegally even against an ordinary citizen. Material against a judge cannot be collected without the approval of the president, but ARU did so without the approval of a competent authority,” he argued.
“Even an SHO can start an investigation against a citizen only after an FIR has been registered,” Malik contended.
Justice Bandial said the constitution guaranteed dignity to every citizen and an investigation against someone without legal authority was illegal act.
He observed that executive authority was required to launch an investigation. However, he added, the permission of the president was not mandatory.
Justice Bandial noted that in Justice Isa’s case, the PM’s aide was investigating into the matter and the applicant had not refuted the material produced.
The hearing was adjourned till Thursday (today).