Rental power case: An improbable suicide

Published: January 19, 2013
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Faisal, who held the position of assistant director at the bureau, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his room at the federal lodge number 2. PHOTO: FILE

Faisal, who held the position of assistant director at the bureau, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his room at the federal lodge number 2. PHOTO: FILE

ISLAMABAD: 

The corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf took a tragic turn on Friday when an officer  investigating the high-profile case was found dead at a hostel in the federal capital.

A day after the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chief told the Supreme Court he did not yet have enough evidence to move against the prime minister and 15 others on accusations of graft, Faisal – one of the officers looking into alleged kickbacks by the premier in transactions involving rental power plants when he was power minister – was found dead in a government hostel where he lived with other NAB colleagues.

Faisal, who held the position of assistant director at the bureau, was found hanging from the ceiling fan in his room at the federal lodge number 2.

Initial investigations indicated Faisal committed suicide, said Secretariat police. However, the officer’s family and friends insist that Faisal was not a man of “weak nerves”.

“Routine pressure and stresses are part of a NAB investigator’s daily life,” said a senior NAB officer, requesting anonymity, who said he had been working with Faisal for more than six months.

“He must have been under immense pressure if he has actually committed suicide. He was a strong man as I know him,” said the NAB officer.

Islamabad police officials say they found no evidence of a forced entry or signs of resistance in Faisal’s room. “It was locked from inside. The body was hanging from the ceiling fan. Besides, there was no other possible exit from the room,” said a senior police officer, who claimed that law enforcers had investigated the crime scene thoroughly before sealing it.

Inspector General of Police in Islamabad Bani Amin told reporters that the crime scene indicated that Faisal had committed suicide, while confirming that the body had been found.

“We are investigating [the case] from different angles… We will establish an opinion after the autopsy,” he said.

There were some contradictions when police officials were asked about how they were informed about Faisal’s death. The police claimed they were informed by NAB authorities who, on the contrary, said they were informed by the police.

However, the locked room was opened in the presence of Station House Officer (SHO) Secretariat police. Faisal’s body was then taken to Poly Clinic hospital, where a six-member board of doctors headed by Dr Iftikhar Ahmed Naru conducted an autopsy on it. The officer’s family did not want to conduct a post-mortem on the body but the police insisted, said a police official.

“It was a requirement in this case as the incident has to be probed,” he said.

Untimely death

Faisal, who leaves behind a widow and two daughters, was dispatched to his native town of Mian Channu for burial.

“The chairman and all NAB officers express their deepest condolences on the tragic demise of Kamran to his family,” said a statement released by a NAB spokesperson.

However, the timing of Faisal’s death raised many eyebrows in NAB and the legal fraternity – who questioned the mysterious circumstances surrounding his death.

“We were together the previous evening and I noticed no signs of stress on Faisal. He was in his usual mood,” said an officer, who has been working alongside Faisal in the PM’s case.

“We ate together at the hostel. I did not notice any unusual about his behaviour,” said another NAB officer, who lived in the same government hostel.

Earlier, the Supreme Court bench hearing the rental power case was irked by the transfer of Faisal and another officer under the pretext of the “court’s displeasure”. In its January 15 order, the SC observed that the court never expressed displeasure over Faisal’s performance at any stage during the hearing of the RPPs case.

The court also observed that NAB failed to present any evidence that the court had made any such observation on Faisal’s performance.

“We issue notice to Chairman NAB to explain as to why he has falsely used the name of the SC with the view to remove the IOs (Investigations Officers) Asghar Ali and Kamran Faisal,” the court said in its judgment.

Faisal was one of the eight NAB officials, including the chairman of the bureau, who were issued contempt notices by the SC for non compliance of the judgment on the RPPs case. “But this contempt notice could not have led to committing suicide. The matter was solved,” said a NAB colleague of the deceased officer.

Meanwhile, police said they would lodge investigations into the incident after receiving a complete autopsy, including a chemical examination report.

“It will take a week or so and before this police cannot proceed with investigations,” said a police officer, adding that a case would only be registered after finding substantial evidence of Faisal’s death resulting from a criminal act.

Faisal’s uncle, Dr Tariq, quoted his father Chaudhry Abdul Hameed as saying that as Faisal was a man of steely nerves, he could not have committed suicide. Be that as it may, police officials said no family member or friend of Faisal’s had reported any threats to his life.

Faisal joined NAB in 2006 and served in Quetta till May 2011. After this, he opted to join the Federal Investigation Agency. However, he returned to NAB in May 2012, where he continued to serve until his death.

Published in The Express Tribune, January 19th, 2013.

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Reader Comments (16)

  • Roni
    Jan 19, 2013 - 3:46AM

    Sad news indeed. Suicides are strange and cannot be predicted if they were then they would not happen. Air Marshall A. Khan’s son and Pakistani cricket coach can be found dead like Faisal and nobody killed them. One wonders why anybody would kill a very junior investigating officer. He was just one of the dozens of officials who were on this case. The death of one man cannot change all his reports and other people’s findings. Let there be a thorough investigations and all the facts come out in the open. RIP Faisal.

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  • Omer
    Jan 19, 2013 - 4:58AM

    Should we really believe our police ? Don’t we know what happened in Shahzeb Khan’s case. Pakistan sadly has no future :(

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  • shaista
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:28AM

    this story is not even ‘Rented’!

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  • rashid
    Jan 19, 2013 - 5:35AM

    this is a Murder a clear murder it is murder yes he is killed

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  • Maqbul Bhai Bihari
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:36AM

    @Roni – “One wonders why anybody would kill a very junior investigating officer.”

    Umm .. it’s pretty obvious. They want to scare the rest. It’s a warning.

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  • Malik
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:38AM

    His death under such circumstances, when he was involved in this high profile investigation and scam in which several billions are at stake, is highly suspicious. NAB has become more of a Corruption Facilitation Bureau the way it is functioning. An independent investigation must be conducted.

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  • enu
    Jan 19, 2013 - 6:45AM

    extremely suspicious to say the least

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  • Raj - USA
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:09AM

    Similar thing happened in India also. G2 Scam Raja’s accomplice committed suicide.

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  • Yoghurt lover
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:12AM

    @Omer “Pakistan sadly has no future :( “

    Actually Pakistan has a future only if it summarily forgets Kashmir.

    Else, like you said, just a disaster and no future.

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  • m@ni
    Jan 19, 2013 - 8:28AM

    I don’t get the level of reporting ET has been doing these days… Repreating same things and using 4-5 characters as who said this if kept annonoymous.
    This is a murder case, sc was happy with his performance. Nab must have pressurized him to change his report. Check his phone record, our idiot police and you’ll find out! Period;

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  • True indian.
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:21AM

    Murdered so he does not unveil the premier crimes…

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  • Zaheer Ahmed
    Jan 19, 2013 - 9:38AM

    @Roni – Please dont say that “One wonders why anybody would kill a very junior investigating officer”. Its junior level officers who are generally assigned to dig deep and find out reasons and evidences for corruption so please dont say that no one would benefit by his elimination. Besides it has served as a brutal reminder to those who still have ambitions of showing the real ugly face of these ruling thugs.

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  • Roni
    Jan 19, 2013 - 10:30AM

    Those who say this one of the dozens of junior officers is murdered because he was on to something imp. Did he not leave the report that went to the SC? He was not working alone or independently and all his mates and bosses had the access to all his findings and reports. It is like saying a judge from a bench of dozens of judges dies then all evidence died with him! If one felt threatened he would leave all the reports with his mates and bosses. Which as a govt servant he was required anyway. In fact his investigation was complete that is why the SC had ordered the arrest of all accused. Most rightwing hide the fact that the NAB chief is an Admiral and ex-chief of navy. Are our forces chiefs this corrupt?

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  • Cicero
    Jan 19, 2013 - 12:37PM

    I say “Cui bono”

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  • Cicero
    Jan 19, 2013 - 1:03PM

    I say “Cui Bono

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  • DilliNiwasi
    Jan 20, 2013 - 10:47PM

    This is a clear case of murder and the entire govt machinery has to be involved, PM, NAB, ISI, … Why will a young boy full of life and a family with a good job commit suicide? This investigation like BB will never lead to anything as powerful vested interests are interlinked and will prevent any truth from coming out.

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