NICL scam: SC cancels leaves of FIA investigators

Chief justice directs that DG FIA be included in the team.

Qaiser Zulfiqar August 16, 2011


The Supreme Court has ordered cancellation of leaves of members of the team investigating the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam spearheaded by Additional Director General (ADG) Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Zafar Qureshi and summoned them along with the record on Wednesday.

The lead investigator of the NICL scam submitted that four officers assisting him in the investigation had been sent on leave before a three-member bench headed by Chief Justice (CJ) Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

“When I tried to contact the Interpol director FIA, I found that he too was on leave.” He submitted that Assistant Director FIA Khwaja Hammad called him on August 12 to warn him of a possible bomb threat. The next day he was barred from entering the FIA  building. The bomb threat later turned out to be a hoax.

(Read: Bomb hoax keeps Zafar Qureshi from resuming probe)

Witnesses he had called for cross-examination did not turn up either. Qureshi informed the bench that he wrote letters to the interior ministry for assistance but there was no response. It is regrettable that Qureshi was mistreated despite his reinstatement as the investigation officer of the NICL scam, the CJ remarked. “Enough is enough!” he observed and asked for Attorney General (AGP) Maulvi Anwarul Haq’s advice on the issue. He questioned the AGP why the government was hindering implementation of court orders, who remained silent as is his wont.

The CJ asked Director General (DG) FIA Tehseen Anwar Shah about the bomb hoax in Lahore but he invited the court’s ire by expressing ignorance about the incident. He ordered DG FIA to take action against officials responsible for stopping Qureshi from entering the premises.

He observed that the DG should have registered a case against the hoax callers. The CJ directed DG FIA to join the team probing the NICL scam. “The government should facilitate the investigation instead of backing the criminals.” The CJ observed that DG FIA and director and assistant director FIA Lahore had disobeyed court orders.  Earlier Qureshi had informed the court that he had resumed charge as ADG FIA and Managing Director NPF in compliance with the Supreme Court’s reserved order. The court adjourned the hearing for Wednesday.

Published in The Express Tribune, August 17th, 2011.