An accountability court was informed on Friday that former IGP Malik Naveed, who is in the custody of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P), has offered settlement and the offer will be determined by a committee.
Amid tight security, the accused was presented in the accountability court for another extension in his remand in a Rs7 billion weapons and equipment purchase case.
Special Prosecutor Lajbar Khan informed the court that the accused has offered settlement and the case would now be put in front of a committee to determine its future. The committee formed in this regard includes NAB’s director general, public prosecutor and other officials.
Khan further said during the interrogation of two other accused, Niaz Ali Shah, the former adviser to ex-chief minister Ameer Haider Hoti and Raza Ali Khan, the brother-in-law of Hoti’s brother Mir Ghazan, it was revealed the adviser had written to Hoti demanding his attention towards the weapons contract fearing corruption. “We will investigate the letter too,” he added.
“We also found out that during Naveed’s tenure as the provincial police chief, Pakistan Army provided AK-47s and bullet-proof jackets to the police department but despite there being sufficient quantity, the accused purchased more weapons,” said the special prosecutor.
Counsel for accused, Barrister Zahoorul Haq replied after the main approver Arshad Majeed’s statement on May 20 last year, wherein he named all those involved, nothing has been done to investigate the allegations.
He further said under the NAB law, it was mandatory to present reasons for extension of custody but in this case the accused has been in NAB’s custody since 50 days and they have done nothing which can form the basis for further extension of remand.
Abdul Latif Afridi, another counsel of accused, told the court his client was suffering from major depression which was shown in a psychiatrist’s report and according to the medical study, a person can commit suicide in this condition.
“During the time our client has been in custody, NAB officials have interrogated them for only four hours which shows the level of their investigation. Instead of extending his remand, Naveed should be kept in judicial lockup till the committee determines the offer of settlement,” Afridi added.
The NAB prosecutor, however, replied they have done nothing illegal with the accused and denied claims of the accused’s depression, and asked for another extension in his remand.
When judge Wilayat Ali Khan asked the officials what they have unearthed in the previous 7-day remand, their reply was not convincing. He then asked how many days they would need to get a breakthrough, to which the officials replied they will require 10 more days.
The court rejected the defense counsels’ plea to shift the accused on judicial remand and granted five-day physical custody of the accused stating it will be problematic if the accused has to appear before the committee and then the court as the distance is too long.
Speaking on the condition of anonymity, a NAB official told The Express Tribune outside the courtroom that Naveed has offered Rs80 million to be returned to them under the ‘Voluntarily Return’ system. Out of the whole amount, NAB has accused Naveed of misappropriating Rs1.82 billion.
Earlier, Naveed had allegedly offered to pay Rs40 million voluntarily if NAB backtracks from the case filed against him, but that offer was turned down.
It is pertinent to mention here that since November 21, Malik Naveed has been in the custody of NAB. Two other accused, Naiz Ali Shah and Raza Ali Khan, are also in a 14-day remand.
These officials are accused of massive embezzlement in the procurement of Rs7 billion worth of weapons and other equipment during 2008-10. Arshad Majeed voluntarily paid Rs102 million while budget officer Khalid Khan paid Rs42 million.
Published in The Express Tribune, January 11th, 2014.
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