Arsalan Chaudhry case: Chief Justice detaches self from bench

Published: June 8, 2012
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The CJ’s son has also been involved in some dubious dealings in the past, which does not strengthen his case. . PHOTO: FILE

The CJ’s son has also been involved in some dubious dealings in the past, which does not strengthen his case. . PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry has decided to distance himself from a case pertaining to a financial scandal involving his son, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

“The bench would continue to hear the case minus the chief justice and the hearing will be conducted in an open court, so everyone knows about its fate,” Chief Justice Chaudhry said on Thursday.

Media reports had suggested that Arsalan had received between Rs300 and Rs400 million from a real estate tycoon, Bahria Town’s chief Malik Riaz, to influence judicial proceedings. The two were summoned to the Supreme Court, which took suo motu notice of the issue.

The chief justice clarified that he had no knowledge about his son’s activities, saying that Arsalan had recently borrowed money for his marriage ceremony and does not have a separate home or his own vehicle.

“The Holy Quran says you are responsible for your own actions, not your children’s,” the chief justice said. “We have faith and we believe in Allah Almighty.”

If some people think that everyone has a price, it is their misconception, the chief justice said, adding: “I want to tell you that judges are no more for sale.”

Attorney General Irfan Qadir raised objections, once again, on Thursday over the two-member special bench, saying it could not proceed independently as the chief justice was initially part of it.

The court informed him that he could follow the procedure of filing a request before the chief justice, who constitutes benches.

Hearing continues

After the chief justice’s recusal from the bench, a two-member bench resumed hearing the financial impropriety case.

The special two-judge bench sought a full record of Bahria Town, including its business ventures and tax history, and details regarding all agreements on joint projects between the government and Malik Riaz.

The bench further expressed concern over the word “Bahria” for a housing colony, saying that the name of a respectable institution is being dragged down for personal gains.

Secretary Bahria Town Private Limited (BTPL) Shabbar Hussain told the court that the company was formed in collaboration with the Bahria Foundation, which had a 10% share, while Malik Riaz’s family had a 90% share. However, he added, that the Bahria Foundation is no longer a share holder. The court directed him to produce a termination certificate of the agreement, and a record of the civil court where litigation regarding their company was ongoing.

Shabbar also told the court that Malik Riaz has resigned from the company and his son, Ali Riaz, holds a 26% share, while his wife Beena Riaz holds a 74% share.

The court adjourned the hearing till June 11, while ordering Malik Riaz and Arsalan to submit written statements.

Kamran Khan’s take

The court had earlier issued notices to the chief executive of Geo TV and anchors Kamran Khan, Najam Sethi and The News group editor Shaheen Sehbai to appear before the court with evidence, since they appeared in programmes on the issue. Khan told the bench about his detailed meeting with Malik Riaz, during which the latter showed dossiers that carried documents pertaining to Arsalan’s trips to London over the past three years.

There were tenancy agreements signed by Dr Arsalan for five-star accommodation in Central London and receipts/invoices which showed that the payments were made from the accounts/credits cards controlled by Malik Riaz.

Khan further said that Malik Riaz told him that when he shared the same information with Aitzaz Ahsan, “he (Ahsan) was utterly shocked and broke into tears.” Khan further told the court, “When I questioned Malik Riaz as to why he kept paying Arsalan despite getting unfavourable orders from the court, Riaz said that each time Arsalan made an excuse, while promising that things would start resolving in the next hearing.”

The chief justice remarked he had been hearing Bahria Town cases for the last three years and questioned which tell the court in which case Malik Riaz was given relief in. “Everyone is responsible for his own deeds,” he said. The court summoned both Malik Riaz, who, according to his lawyer, was unwell and his son, Ali Riaz.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 8th, 2012.

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Reader Comments (18)

  • Hasan
    Jun 8, 2012 - 6:29AM

    ” Those ” who claim cleansing the whole country must start from their own back yard.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Jun 8, 2012 - 6:38AM

    Attorney General Irfan Qadir raised
    objections, once again, on Thursday
    over the two-member special bench,
    saying it could not proceed
    independently as the chief justice was
    initially part of it.

    He is quite right. There should be no hint that Arslan’s father was involved in any of the process or selection of judges, to maintain as much fairness as possible.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Jun 8, 2012 - 6:44AM

    The special two-judge bench sought a
    full record of Bahria Town, including
    its business ventures and tax history,
    and details regarding all agreements
    on joint projects between the
    government and Malik Riaz.

    Did the bench also sought the same from the businesses run by Arsalan, as it is Arsalan who is accused of illegal moneymaking in the case not Malik Riyaz. Malik Riyaz can be investigated under a separate case if needed but that has nothing to do with the case against Arsalan.

    Recommend

  • Umer
    Jun 8, 2012 - 7:04AM

    However, he added, that the Bahria
    Foundation is no longer a share
    holder. The court directed him to
    produce a termination certificate of
    the agreement, and a record of the
    civil court where litigation regarding
    their company was ongoing.

    Why? Why? Why? What has this got to do with the case in hand against Arsalan? Why is emphasis being moved away from Arsalan beta ji?

    Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2012 - 7:26AM

    An act of honor and moral uprightness. Salams

    Recommend

  • Anonymous
    Jun 8, 2012 - 7:27AM

    Punish Malik riaz as he did not fulfill the promises he made to arsalan.
    Now he has to produce all tax history ,holdings and business ,why?

    Recommend

  • Rafman
    Jun 8, 2012 - 7:34AM

    Malik riaz should also
    Be on trial for GIVING a potential bribe in the first place
    all decent countries put the payer and receiver on trial

    Recommend

  • Nida Rehman
    Jun 8, 2012 - 8:08AM

    Why is this story blown up when the Supreme Court is hearing various high profile cases like:

    1> NICL Corruption
    2> Bank of Punjab Corruption
    3> Hajj Corruption
    4> Convicted Prime Minister’s Disqualification
    5> Reference against misjudgement by Madam Speaker
    6> Dual Nationality of Public Officeholders
    7> Missing Persons Case

    Why at the time when a corrupt foreign national, having business interests in UK, is still occupying the Interior Ministry?
    The culprits behind this conspiracy must be brought to justice. Otherwise these cancerous perpetrator vultures will continue to eat the country..Recommend

  • Umer
    Jun 8, 2012 - 8:58AM

    The bench further expressed concern
    over the word “Bahria” for a housing
    colony, saying that the name of a
    respectable institution is being
    dragged down for personal gains.

    Name Bahria Town has been there for years. Why did the bench not have problem with it until beta Arslana had an issue with Bahria Town? Uncle Judges appear to be moving emphases away from the case against Arsalan beta.

    Recommend

  • Saman
    Jun 8, 2012 - 11:19AM

    I think just the fact that the CJP has opened a case against his son is a testiment to his credibility and integrity. @ Hasan – He is cleaning up his back yard … hes taken his son to court!

    Recommend

  • Ammar
    Jun 8, 2012 - 11:40AM

    Why is court focusing on Bahria Towns financials etc. I thought the case is about Malik Riaz bribing Arslan to get favours from his father, shouldnt they focus on how Arslan who was a civil servant not so long ago has a business worth multi million Rs? No disrespect but the judges are too emotional, it is clearly evident from their statements that they are only intrested in saving the image of judiciary and not the actual issue. One last thing Arslan borrowed money for his marriage, is this a joke? some one who is taking his family to London for vacation is so dirt poor that he needed a loan to get married, sorry I am not buying this.

    Recommend

  • sultanasani
    Jun 8, 2012 - 11:47AM

    The sou motu action taken by honorable chief justice and detached him self from the bench it is his impartiality,let the bench decide the issue, commenting on issue will not be in .the favor of the issue.the question arise that when the honorable supreme court is engaged in high profile cases why this issue blown up-?

    Recommend

  • Bitter Reality
    Jun 8, 2012 - 12:30PM

    Kudos to CJ for setting an example for others.

    Recommend

  • Jun 8, 2012 - 12:31PM

    @Hasan:
    Supreme Court and judges have started cleansing their backyards as well as their front yards too!!!

    Recommend

  • kamran
    Jun 8, 2012 - 7:03PM

    hi guys ,
    lets be realistic n consider the proceeding so far before commenting on this issue firstly if u havent studied law u neva gonna knoe the first thing about judicial proceeding stuff unless verdict comes out … All we knoe by knoe is the son has been removed from the house n father has separated himself from the bench hearing this case i think thts something we should appreciate n how the proceeding gonna go we dont knoe but wht we do knoe is all Neccasry steps insuring sincerity of judiciary into the case have been taken so wht gonna come out of this case who knows but at least we can expect some plausible verdict out of it ….. Isnt it a faithfulness of cj to rule of law to make his son leave the house n his separation from the bench how u guys gonna depict all ov this … THINK POSITIVE MATE!!

    Recommend

  • Jun 23, 2012 - 11:34AM

    It is a very rational decision on the part of Chief Justice

    Recommend

  • Jun 26, 2012 - 11:42AM

    Greetings,
    With due respect for the honerable CJP and his family, i would like to raise a point here that “where there is Flame there must be some Smake of that”. Keeping this Quote in mind i would like to share my thought regarding to this case that This issue must have something from both ends but Honourable Mr. Riaz Malik had came up late but with solid proofs in this regards on the other Mr. Arsalan Iftikhar(Son of CJP) have came with just verbal points. Let me just clear something according to the international Law “No evidence stands for Nothing”. Keeping this in mind the case should go in favour of Mr. Malik because he raise up with proof’s(On record).
    This is my individual point of view.
    Regards.

    Recommend

  • Jun 27, 2012 - 3:27PM

    This is no doubt,a wise decision on the part of CJ,not to be a part of arsalan case anymore.He must have thought that ideosyncratic factors might influence his decision…mind blowing example for all the fathers of the world…

    Recommend

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