EOBI scam: SHC restrains FIA from taking coercive action against accused

FIA submits an interim charge sheet, declaring EOBI chairperson as absconder.

Our Correspondent July 12, 2013
Kunwar has been taken into custody by the FIA for investigation into the multi-million scam in the social security institute on the directives of SC. PHOTO: EXPRESS/FILE

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court has restrained the Federal Investigation Agency’s authorities from taking coercive action against the Employees Old Age Benefits Institute’s (EOBI) director-general (investment) in connection with the Rs400 billion graft scam.

Waheed Khursheed Kunwar has been taken into custody by the FIA for investigation into the multi-million scam in the social security institute on the directives of the Supreme Court of Pakistan. His son, Ali Waheed, went to the high court on Friday, complaining that his father was being illegally detained in the Karachi Central Prison by the FIA on the pretext of investigation into the EOBI scam.

Kunwar was serving as director-general (investment) in the EOBI when a four-acre plot in Deh Malir was allegedly purchased on an exorbitant price of Rs2.2 billion against its actual market price of Rs1 billion.

According to the petitioner, although his father was taken into custody, no details were being shared with the family. He pleaded the court to direct the FIA authorities to submit in court details of inquiries initiated against Kunwar. He also asked that the investigation agencies be restrained from registering further cases against him.

Justice Ghulam Sarwar Korai, while heading the bench, issued notice to the interior ministry, the director-generals of the FIA and the National Accountability Bureau and deputy attorney-general to file comments by the next date.

Freezing accounts

The same bench restrained the FIA from taking coercive action against Naguib Rehman, husband of suspect Maham Rehman, daughter of retired Col. Ali Asad Mirza and co-owner of the four-acre plot involved in the EOBI graft scam.

Naguib told the court that his company’s accounts have been frozen as the FIA suspected that the money from the sale of the said plot was transferred in his company’s accounts.

He contended that he had nothing to do with the scam and asked the court to restrain the investigation authorities from taking illegal actions, such as freezing accounts, against him or his firm.

Former minister remanded to jail custody

A district and sessions court sent the former Sindh caretaker minister, Muhammad Iqbal Dawood, over his alleged involvement in the EOBI scam to jail custody on Thursday.

Ghulam Murtaza, a judicial magistrate in district East, sent Dawood to jail custody with directions to fulfil his medical requirements. The judge, while directing the jail authorities to bring medical record of Dawood in the next hearing, adjourned the hearing of the bail application of the suspect till July 15.

The same day, an Anti-Corruption Court, dismissed the bail application of Maham Najeeb but extended the interim pre-arrest bail of her mother, Nighat Mirza, till July 30.

The FIA also submitted an interim charge sheet in the case, declaring former EOBI chaiperson, Zafar Iqbal Gondal, and Qasim Pervez as absconders. The court while accepting the charge sheet issued non-bailable warrants of the suspects and ordered to arrest them.

According to the charge sheet, Colonel Mirza disclosed that the deal was finalised for over Rs2.023 billion with EOBI officers for sale of a four-acre land. Mirza, while admitting that both his wife and daughter were aware about the deal, said that Rs710 million kickbacks were given to Waheed Khursheed Kanwar, through his friend, Shaikh Farrukh Saleem.

During interrogation, Kanwar disclosed that the land was evaluated before being purchased by EOBI, adding that Dawood had presided over the investment committee’s meeting which gave approval for the piece of land. The FIA has included 21 witnesses in the case.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 13th, 2013.


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