K-P moves SC to stop FIA probe into Peshawar BRT project

PHC, last month, had given agency 45 days to complete inquiry and submit report


​ Our Correspondents December 25, 2019
Peshawar BRT. PHOTO: FILE

PESHAWAR/ ISLAMABAD: The Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) government on Tuesday filed a petition in the Supreme Court against the Peshawar High Court’s (PHC) order, directing the Federal Investigation Agency to probe into alleged irregularities in the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit (BRT) project.

The provincial government filed the plea in the SC Peshawar registry while the Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) also filed an identical appeal at the principal seat in Islamabad through its counsel Makhdoom Ali Shah, praying the top court to issue orders for stopping the FIA inquiry.

The petitions stated that the PHC’s decision was against the law as the high court had not fully examined the facts in the BRT project case.

The government petition states the PHC, on November 14, 2019, directed the FIA to conduct an investigation into the BRT within 45 days and gave observations against the project. “The PHC order is against the law and the Constitution.”

It states the authority of taking decisions regarding the project lies only with the K-P government. “Complete homework was done before starting the project as international experts were hired as consultants for the project. The PHC’s observation is ruining the government’s image.”

The petition further states that earlier a plea had been filed in the PHC against the BRT project, adding that the PHC had considered all aspects and disposed of the case. “Now, on a new plea [against the same project], action cannot be ordered as it is against the law.

“It is against Article 10-A of the Constitution for the PHC to take up the case when it is already being heard in the Supreme Court.”

The petition requested the SC to annul the order issued by the PHC to the FIA for conducting a probe into the BRT project.

FIA issues summons

The FIA has summoned officials of the PDA and other departments of K-P to question them regarding the alleged irregularities in the BRT project.

Besides PDA, officials of the transport, as well as planning and development departments, would appear before the FIA at its headquarters.

“This is a huge project and we have been investigating it from different angles,” said an FIA official. “We have sought the National High Authority’s (NHA) assistance as it has been dealing with mega projects, specifically those regarding road construction.”

The official, who requested anonymity since he was not entitled to speak to the media, said that it was not difficult to obtain the BRT project’s record from the PDA as it was cooperative.

“We will submit a detailed report containing information about mismanagement, misappropriation, misuse of authority or embezzlements [if any], to the court,” the official told The Express Tribune, adding that a dedicated team was holding meetings with experts to obtain complete details of the project.

According to other senior officials, the PDA and transport departments had promised to share the record with the agency on Thursday (tomorrow).

“We have asked them to come prepared for the meetings scheduled for this week and the next,” the officials informed.

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