ISLAMABAD: Addressing a press conference at a local hotel on Tuesday, business tycoon Malik Riaz said he never got a favourable decision from the Supreme Court despite large amounts of money paid out to Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry. He also described Arsalan as a ‘don’ and said he was the one running the judiciary.
The Bahria Town chief posed three questions to Chief Justice Iftikhar, revealing that several meetings were held between him and the chief justice in “the darkness of night,” and asking the CJ to tell the nation how many such meetings were held.
Riaz questioned whether Arsalan Iftikhar was not a part of these meetings and did not know about them. He also alleged that the sitting registrar of the apex court, Dr Faqeer Hussain, was also present during several of these meetings.
Malik Riaz also asked: “How many meetings were held at the residence of Ahmed Khalil between the chief justice and the prime minister and was there not an sitting judge of the Supreme Court present during one of the meetings?”
“For how long did the chief justice know about this [Arsalan] case and why did he wait till media reports to take suo moto notice?” Malik Riaz posed the third question.Malik Riaz alleged that he was blackmailed and did not pay any bribes. However, Riaz clarified that he had not accused the chief justice of anything and respected him.
When asked of the repercussions which may arise following such a news conference, Malik Riaz replied that he did not care if he was charged with contempt or sent to prison.During the press conference, Malik Riaz disclosed that he would reveal more details of the matter in the future.
Meanwhile, appearing in court, Riaz on Tuesday told the Supreme Court that Dr Arsalan Iftikhar continuously blackmailed and extorted money from his son-in-law on different pretexts, misusing his position as the son of the CJ. “I have been victimised and blackmailed by Dr Arsalan Iftikhar,” Malik Riaz Hussain contended in his 83-page statement submitted before a two-member bench of the apex court hearing a suo moto case regarding an alleged business deal between him and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
Malik Riaz contended that Dr Arsalan was a close friend of Ahmed Khalil, who happened to be a friend of his son-in-law Salman Ahmed, adding that Dr Arsalan cheated and defrauded him and his son-in-law and alsogot illegal benefits under pressure, coercion and intimation.
He said Dr Arsalan Iftikhar told Ahmed Khalil that he was in the knowledge of suo moto cases against Bahria Town Private Limited before his father and could manage to resolve the said cases in favour of Bahria Town from the court. On the said pretext, according to Malik Riaz, Arsalan repeatedly got favours in different shapes.
Malik Riaz claimed in his statement that Rs342.50 million were spent on Dr Arsalan Iftikhar’s three foreign tours. He contended that the suo moto action taken by the chief justice was not legal as no question of enforcement of fundamental rights had arisen, adding that the Supreme Court was not an investigating agency and there were numerous competent authorities to investigate or inquire into alleged commission of crimes.
“Preferential treatment is meted out to Dr Arsalan Iftikhar as the details of the assets, accounts, income tax, wealth tax etc have been requisitioned from Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) in my respect and no such details have been asked to be furnished by Dr Arsalan Iftikhar,” Malik Riaz submitted.
He, however, submitted that he had great regard and respect for the Supreme Court and its judges including the chief justice. He said the purpose of narrating the facts in the issue was neither to ridicule or to show disrespect or to hatch a conspiracy against the Supreme Court but to voice genuine grievances. “I or my son-in-law have not yet filed any criminal or civil petition against Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, I am before this august court as the court has summoned me and to file a concise statement,” he submitted.
Malik Riaz further submitted in his statement that the president, prime minister or any political party and agency was not involved in this matter, adding that nobody either prompted him or helped him in any manner in this whole episode.
He contended that his concise statement should not be considered final and conclusive and he reserved the right to add details and further incriminating evidence at a subsequent juncture before the august court.
Earlier, during the hearing of the case, Zahid Bukhari, counsel for Malik Riaz Hussain, suggested three options for the apex court, saying that the court should form a larger bench to hear the case, appoint a commission similar to the one which had probed the memo scandal or send the case for probe.
Attorney General Irfan Qadir suggested that the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) should investigate the matter under Section 9 of the NAB Ordinance, while Sardar Ishaq, counsel for Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, suggested to the court constitute a judicial commission to probe the matter.
The court, however, observed that it would take the suggestions into consideration and adjourned the hearing till Thursday.
During the hearing when Malik Riaz tried to inform the court about the facts of the case, the court asked him to abstain from giving facts as Dr Arsalan was also debarred from speaking before the court in the presence of his lawyer. The court also asked Malik Riaz to speak through his lawyer.
Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed that the court’s main objective was to protect the dignity of the institution. “If we could not protect this institution than sitting in this court is meaningless,” he added.
At this Zahid Bukhari replied that it seemed like the Supreme Court had made up its mind about the case, to which Justice Khawaja replied that his mind would not be made up until he signed the court order.
Earlier, Ali Riaz Malik, Chief Executive Bahria Town submitted a separate concise statement before the court through his counsel Barrister Ali Zafar. He contended that there are no allegations whatsoever against Bahria Town, adding that the company was not involved in any manner in any illegal transaction or illegal business deal as alleged by Hamid Mir, Kamran Khan and Shaheen Sehbai. He said all allegations made in this case were of an individual nature and personal acts and Bahria Town had nothing to do with them.