Additional home secretary Abdul Raheem Soomro on Friday obtained interim pre-arrest bail in a corruption reference pertaining to illegal transfers of state land.
A division bench of the Sindh High Court, headed by Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar, granted Soomro bail in sum of Rs200,000 with directions to surrender before the accountability court trying the matter.
The National Accountability Bureau (Nab) had filed a reference against him before the relevant accountability court. Soomro approached the high court, stating that the Nab Sindh authorities had summoned him for an inquiry against officials of the Sindh revenue board in the land scam.
The investigators alleged that the petitioner, during his posting as the revenue executive district officer (EDO) in Dadu, had issued an order on October 16, 2014, through which many acres of state land were transferred in Thano Bula Khan in violation of the law.
Soomro’s lawyer stated, however, that as the revenue EDO, the petitioner had lawfully passed the land transfer orders. The court was informed that while Soomro was ready to face the inquiry and appear before the investigation officer to submit the relevant notification, he was apprehensive that he would be arrested by the Nab officials.
The court was pleaded to grant pre-arrest bail to the petitioner to allow him to appear before the Nab authorities and join the inquiry. Allowing the request, the two judges granted him interim bail before arrest, subject to a surety of Rs200,000. A notice was also issued to the Nab additional deputy prosecutor-general to file comments by July 15, when the petitioner would appear to seek confirmation of the bail or otherwise.
Meanwhile, the same bench also restrained the Nab authorities from taking any coercive action against the former deputy commissioner of Sujawal, Shaukat Hussain Jakhro, in a corruption reference.
Jakhro stated that the officials had verbally directed him to appear to record his statement in a graft case, adding that neither was his name among the accused nor had any reference been filed against him. However, his lawyer Mohsin Shahwani alleged that the investigators were harassing and threatening him.
Shahwani pleaded to the court to restrain the Nab officials from harassing his client in connection with the alleged inquiry.
Issuing notices to the Nab Sindh authorities to file their comments by July 15, the judges directed them not to take any coercive action against the petitioner till the next date of hearing.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 11th, 2015.