NICL scam: FIA investigators reluctant to take up investigation

Assistant director pursuing NICL cases in court may be removed.

Asad Kharal July 30, 2011


The absence of Additional Director Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Zafar Qureshi and continuous government interference has forced his four team members, investigating the multi-billion National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, to keep a low profile, while the battle for the lead investigator’s reinstatement rages on in the Supreme Court.

A senior member of the investigation team has applied for a month’s leave while the other three have mysteriously gone underground. They have not been seen in their offices for the past many days, sources revealed. Assistant Director (AD) FIA Legal Wing Zia Islam, who has been pursuing NICL cases in court, will be substituted with AD Chaudhry Zulfiqar at the Chaudharys’ request, if permitted by FIA headquarters, The Express Tribune has learnt. NICL cases were transferred from the banking court to the sessions court on the orders of the Chief Justice of the Lahore High Court.

Following Qureshi’s reappointment in the FIA, the Director General had transferred four officers, who were part of the NICL investigation team, from the outset to far-flung areas to hinder the investigation process. Deputy Director Corporate Crime Circle Syed Javed Hussain Shah had been transferred to Dera Ismail Khan, AD Muhammad Ahmed Chaudhary had been transferred to Turbat, AD Khalid Anees had transferred to Peshawar while Inspector Commercial Banking Circle Chaudhary Sarwar had been transferred to Gwadar. The notification for their transfers was cancelled on the Supreme Court’s directive.

After they were restored to their previous positions, they were called to Islamabad by the Ministry of Interior to receive directions regarding NICL cases on July 11 this year. But during their nine days’ stay in Islamabad, they did not get to meet Interior Minister Rehman Malik who was taken up with important assignments. The team members have been demoralised by the lead investigator’s suspension and since then there seems to be no further progress, sources said. Director FIA Punjab Waqar Haider and Deputy Director FIA CBC Basharat Mehmood Shahzad were also forced to return after a day’s trip to Islamabad without a briefing from the minister.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 30th,  2011.