Ehtesab Commission: Ziaullah to remain in custody for 13 more days

Hearing of former minister’s petition against arrest adjourned till July 30.


Our Correspondent July 23, 2015
Ziaullah Afridi. PHOTO: SAMEER RAZIQ/EXPRESS

PESHAWAR:


The Ehtesab Commission (EC) on Thursday obtained 13 more days of physical custody of former minister for mines and mineral development Ziaullah Afridi. He was arrested for alleged illegal mining and appointments.


Amid tight security and in presence of a large number of his supporters, the accused was produced before Judge Hayat Ali Shah of the Ehtesab Court. The commission requested for 15 more days but the court granted it 13.



Ziaullah was arrested on July 9 and spent 13 days in the lock-up of Ehtesab Commission in Hayatabad. Under the KPEC Act 2014, the former minister can be kept in physical custody for up to
45 days.

Mining scam

The EC said there was an incredible amount of evidence against Ziaullah, who allegedly caused a loss of Rs150 billion to the exchequer through illegal mining. During his tenure, the accused allegedly by-passed the provincial finance department and allotted mining leases.

The EC further said Ziaullah made illegal appointments in the provincial department and did not follow due procedure. It further accused him of violating Section 11 of Rules of Business 1972.

His version

The Peshawar High Court has also adjourned the hearing of the case against Ziaullah Afridi’s custody. The defendant had challenged the commission’s decision of his arrest. PHC has now asked EC to produce a report of its accusation in front of the court in the next hearing, which is scheduled for July 30.

The directives were issued by a bench of Justice Nisar Hussain Khan and Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth. The court later fixed July 30 as the next date of hearing.

“When the detainee was holding the ministry, he ordered to check illegal and irregular mining and about 350 cases were registered against the offenders. The high-ups threatened him of dire consequences on the issue,” Ziaullah’s own petition read. “The arrest of the minister when viewed in terms of sections 38 and 36 (5) of the Ehtesab Commission Act 2014 do not justify [the arrest]. Neither the minister is absconding nor did he obstruct the court of investigation in any manner,” his petition said.

The Criminal Procedure Code has not been applied by Ehtesab Commission Act 2014 to its court proceedings. Under it, the detention of the arrested minister is unlawful in any lockup/prison, added the former minister’s petition.

Published in The Express Tribune, July 24th, 2015. 

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