The Sindh High Court (SHC) has directed the Federal Investigation Agency to refrain from harassing or taking any action contrary to the law against the former National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) chairperson in relation to the Rs2 billion investment scam.
A division bench, headed by Justice Ahmed Ali M Sheikh, also issued notices to the deputy attorney-general and the deputy prosecutor-general of the National Accountability Bureau to file comments on behalf of the FIA and NAB chiefs by August 29.
Former NICL chief, Muhammad Ayaz Khan Niazi, had gone to the court against alleged harassment by personnel of the investigation agency.
The petitioner said that he, being the chairperson of the NICL, had invested Rs2 billion with JS Investment Limited, but the FIA authorities had initiated an inquiry into the company's investments in December 2013. A case was also registered against the NICL chief and others at the FIA's corporate circle crimes police station.
In the meantime, the Supreme Court had ordered the NAB on January 22, 2014, to investigate all the proceedings and cases pertaining to the NICL investments scam pending before the FIA.
The petitioner's lawyer, Haq Nawaz Talpur, said that while the investigation was transferred to the NAB, the FIA authorities were still summoning and harassing the petitioner.
Talpur argued that the notice issued by the FIA to the petitioner for personal appearance for interrogation, dated June 17, and further calls afterwards were illegal and in violation of the provisions of the FIA Act 1974 since the authority had nothing to do with the matter following the transfer of the inquiry to the accountability bureau.
He added that JS Investment Limited had also filed a constitutional petition with the SHC for transfer of the investigation to the NAB, but the FIA authorities were harassing and pressurising the petitioner under the garb of the inquiry.
The court was pleaded to bar the FIA authorities and their subordinates from harassing the petitioner.
After the preliminary hearing, the bench issued notices to the NAB DAG and DPG to file comments on behalf of the NAB chairperson, the FIA director-general, the interior ministry and others by August 29.
"In the meantime, the petitioner shall not be harassed and no action contrary to the law shall be taken," ordered Justice Sheikh, the head of the bench.
Published in The Express Tribune, August 10th, 2014.