Manhunt: Arrest ex-OGRA chief by Jan 17, SC tells FIA

Two-judge bench dissatisfied with inability of the state to arrest former Ogra chief.


Our Correspondent January 11, 2013
Police team sent to arrest him confirms Sadiq’s presence in Nepal: NAB officials. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

ISLAMABAD:


The Supreme Court on Thursday directed authorities to arrest former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) chairman Tauqeer Sadiq and present him before court on January 17.


A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Khalji Arif Hussain and Justice Jawwad S Khawaja, expressed overall dissatisfaction with the inability of the state to arrest the former Ogra chief.

“The law-enforcement agencies do not appear to be aware of the whereabouts of the accused as they have failed to arrest the absconder,” said Justice Khawaja.

During the proceedings, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s Director Legal Muhammad Azam Khan told the bench that even though Sadiq had been traced in the United Arab Emirates (UAE), he had not been arrested, contrary to earlier reports.

“The situation so far suggests that the law does not apply to an absconder who has ‘links’ and influence,” Justice Khawaja said, observing that state agencies were facilitating Sadiq, who is the main character in a Rs82 billion scam.

Justice Khawaja also expressed discontent over a report which was sought by the bench to affix responsibility against FIA and Punjab police officials who had failed to nab the accused, adding that mere speculation was taking place over Sadiq’s arrest since the past four weeks.

Meanwhile, FIA’s Azam Khan said the agency was investigating Sadiq’s departure from the country and would soon submit a comprehensive report before the court after his arrest.



The bench observed that since a Punjab police report stated that Sadiq managed to flee the country from Karachi, the court wanted a detailed report about the actors involved in his escape from the country.

An investigation officer of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) also told the bench that a joint investigation team, comprising NAB, FIA and police officials, would leave for Abu Dhabi soon to arrest Sadiq.

Earlier on Wednesday, sources in NAB had told The Express Tribune that Sadiq had been arrested in Abu Dhabi with the help of Interpol.

The bench adjourned the hearing till January 17.

Meanwhile, an accountability court in Rawalpindi issued arrest warrants against Sadiq on Thursday.

Special Judge Court-I Shahid Nazir issued non-bailable warrants against Sadiq and asked NAB to produce him in court on January 16.

If the accused is not arrested within the next month, the trial court will begin the process of declaring Sadiq a proclaimed offender, after which the court can confiscate his property under the law. (Additional reporting by Mudassir Raja in Rawalpindi)

Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2013. 

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