RPPs implementation case: SC turns down NAB request for larger bench

Bureau chairman given till February 12 to engage counsel.


Azam Khan February 05, 2013
Bureau chairman given till Feb 12 to engage counsel.

ISLAMABAD:


The Supreme Court rejected on Monday the National Accountability Bureau’s request for the constitution of a larger bench for the Rental Power Projects’ (RPPs) implementation case hearing.


“Since the RPPs case was heard and concluded by a two-judge bench, there is no need to constitute a larger bench for hearing the implementation process,” Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry told NAB Prosecutor-General Karim Khan Agha. He said the three-member bench, headed by him, was enough.

NAB Chairman Admiral (retd) Fasih Bokhari, who was also present in court, sought time to engage a counsel. The court accepted his request and gave him till February 12 to do so.

The court had issued a contempt of court notice to Bokhari for his controversial letter to President Asif Ali Zardari in which he hurled serious allegations against the judiciary. The letter was written after the court directed NAB to arrest high-ranking officials, including the prime minister, involved in the RPPs scandal.

During the previous hearing, NAB insisted that the implementation of the court’s orders in the RPPs case be held till the Kamran Faisal murder investigation was completed. Faisal, a NAB officer investigating the RPPs scandal, was found hanging from the ceiling of his room, last month.



The chief justice did not, however, accept the request, upon which the bureau’s chairman vowed to prosecute the accused persons.

NAB Prosecutor-General KK Agha told The Express Tribune that two other related cases were also pending with different benches and the NAB wished to save the court’s time. If all the cases were heard by one bench, it would be easier for NAB to assist the court, he said.

Meanwhile, a similar request was also declined by the court on Monday when an assistant of Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan asked the court to shift an LPG-related case to another bench since Aitzaz has vowed not to appear before bench number one, where the chief justice hears cases. The bench observed, however, that Ahsan had appeared before bench number one in some cases in the past and there was no precedent to shift cases at someone’s will.

Published in The Express Tribune, February 5th, 2013.

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