The Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) chairman has refused to give up his official vehicle and deposit the cost of petrol he has been using during his forced leave, in violation of the Cabinet Division’s directives.
Ogra Chairman Tauqir Sadiq’s forced leave has been extended by another three months, as he is accused of granting compressed natural gas (CNG) station licences despite a ban. Sadiq’s first forced leave for three months ended on August 28. When he tried to rejoin office, he was informed that the prime minister had extended his forced leave by another three months.
Ogra Member (Oil) Sabir Hussain has been given the charge of acting chairman.
The Cabinet Division, in its letter to Ogra on July 19, said that the matter of benefits being provided to the Ogra chairman had been referred to the Establishment Division to seek its advice.
The Establishment Division, in consultation with the Finance Division, said that the Ogra chairman was entitled to his salary and perquisites, except for the official vehicle and petrol, during his forced leave.
“Ogra is requested to implement the advice of the Establishment Division in letter and in spirit and withdraw the official vehicle being used by the officer immediately. Besides, recover the cost of petrol from Tauqir Sadiq for the non-entitled period also,” the Cabinet Division letter said.
In his response on August 9, Sadiq said, “The respondents in the writ petition titled ‘Tauqir Sadiq versus Government of Pakistan and Others’ had communicated to the Islamabad High Court that all the benefits, including the official car and petrol limits, were being provided to the chairman (on leave). The petition filed in the court has been dismissed mainly on this basis. Now, any change/alteration in the terms and conditions of service, already communicated to the court, is contemptuous, illegal and unlawful.”
Cabinet Division’s Additional Secretary Shahidullah Baig informed the National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources in a meeting held on August 18 that the Ogra chairman had challenged the government’s decision to send him on forced leave in the Islamabad High Court, which dismissed his petition. Baig said that later the Ogra chairman went to the double bench, which also dismissed his appeal.
The double bench in its decision said that the perks and privileges being given to the Ogra chairman was a loss to the poor nation.
The Federal Public Service Commission (FPSC) is probing the allegations against Sadiq, who is a close relative of PPP leader Jehangir Badar, about the issuance of CNG station licences in violation of rules.
The National Assembly’s Standing Committee on Petroleum and Natural Resources has also sought complete record of 500 CNG station licences to examine them on a case-to-case basis.
Published in The Express Tribune, September 6th, 2011.
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