The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday dissolved the Joint Investigation Team (JIT) which was tasked to probe the allegations of under-the-table deals between the chief justice’s son Dr Arsalan and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz.
In reference to the Supreme Court’s earlier stay order on the investigation, NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha informed the two-judge bench, comprising Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain, that the decision of dissolving the bureau’s special team was made after consultations with the chairman of NAB.
“The close connection of Rural Superintendent Police (SP) Faisal Bashir Memon was proved right while investigating Dr Arsalan’s apprehensions over the JIT,” Agha said. “The bureau does not doubt the credibility of Memon but it is for the greater good that we form a new investigation team.”
Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry’s son Dr Arsalan Iftikhar had filed a review petition against the court’s earlier order, which directed the Attorney General (AG) Irfan Qadir to set state machinery in motion to probe the alleged financial transactions between Riaz’s son-in-law and Dr Iftikhar.
Dr Arsalan’s counsel Sardar Ishaq had argued an inherent bias on part of the investigators since the inquiry team included SP Memon, who had served as Malik Riaz’s security guard during his appearance before the apex court.
Ishaq had also argued that the AG had a personal vendetta against the chief justice and was biased against his client, citing an earlier letter written by Qadir to NAB’s chairman.
During the proceedings, Riaz’s counsel Zahid Bukhari requested the bench to direct the lower courts to stop hearing cases of his client until the matter was decided in the Supreme Court.
“Because of this case, lower courts are expeditiously hearing cases against my client [Riaz],” complained Bukhari. However, Justice Khawaja rejected the plea.
Meanwhile, Justice Hussain expressed shock over the four weeks protective bail granted to the real estate tycoon by the Sindh High Court.
“How did he manage to get four weeks protective bail,” asked Justice Khilji to which Bukhari replied: “If it was Punjab, we would have never been able to get the bail”.
Later the court maintaining the status quo, adjourned the case for two weeks.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 3rd, 2012.