On the chopping block: Terrorism cop awaits inquiry

SSP Khattab might be demoted for allegedly designing a ‘soft’ charge sheet.

Salman Siddiqui December 28, 2011


The fate of SSP Raja Umer Khattab, who was heading the Criminal Investigation Agency, hangs in the balance as charges against him might end his career. The complaint has been made by the Rangers over the alleged mishandling of a case involving a notorious target killer.

If the inquiry proves him guilty, all his out-of-turn promotions could be reverted and he might be demoted to an inspector, sources told The Express Tribune.

Khattab’s head is on the chopping block because he allegedly let go of Mohammad Saleem, aka Saleem Baloch, a target killer affiliated with a political party by designing a “soft” charge sheet against him in a way that Saleem was bailed out in a few days.

The police aren’t in a hurry to begin the inquiry. Additional CID IG Ghulam Shabbir Sheikh was nominated as the head of the inquiry committee. “We have sent Khattab on a month’s leave for now,” he said. However, he said, he didn’t have the time to conduct the inquiry because he had a lot of work in his own crime unit. “If pushed I can look into it sometime in January,” said Sheikh. He added that the Additional IG Karachi Akhtar Hussain Gorchani should look into the matter instead of him.

Gorchani, for his part, said that he was appointed as the chief of Karachi police just about the same time as the Khattab controversy emerged. “I’m not the best person to even comment on this case,” he said.

Khattab has termed the case as a “conspiracy” to malign him and blames the SHOs of Garden and Taimuria police stations for the alleged target killer being released on bail.

Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Chaudhry has also taken notice of the case. In a meeting held on December 25, the CJP said, “Some influential suspects, arrested by the Rangers and then handed over to the police for investigation, were given the benefit of being charged under Section 13-D of Arms Ordinance 1965 (carrying arms without license), even though the provisions of Anti-Terrorism law applied.” The CJP noted that such “leniency is unwarranted and against the law”.

Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2011.


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