Wednesday May 29, 2024

NAB restrained from arresting PPP’s Mukesh Chawla

The Sindh High Court directs former minister to extend his full cooperation with NAB as and when required

By Amin Anwar & Azaz Syed
August 28, 2023
Mukesh Kumar Chawla. — X/@PPP_Org
Mukesh Kumar Chawla. — X/@PPP_Org

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday approved former Sindh minister for excise and taxation Mukesh Kumar Chawla’s plea and barred the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting him until September 12, in an inquiry related to misuse of power and corruption.

As per detail, the anti-graft watchdog launched an inquiry into the alleged irregularities and misuse of authority within the Motor Vehicle Registration Wing and the Excise and Taxation Department.

Meanwhile, Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Chawla moved the IHC against his possible arrest in the matter.

In his plea, Chawla stated: “Despite not receiving the call-up notice himself from NAB in respect of any inquiry NAB had raided his house.”

NAB restrained from arresting PPP’s Mukesh Chawla

The PPP leader said that he, however, had not received any call-up notice himself, adding that he has grave apprehension that he will be arrested by the NAB without any legal justification on “account of malafides”.

“Under these circumstances, NAB is directed not to arrest the petitioner, Mukesh Kumar Chawala in respect of inquiry against the officers/officials of Food Department, government of Sindh and Excise and Taxation department,” read the court’s order.

The court also directed the petitioner to extend his full cooperation with NAB as and when required.

The SHC also ordered the graft busters to produce the notice issued to the petitioner prior to August 26, when allegedly his house was raided.

Last week, Hassan Ali Sharif, a private person and an alleged frontman of Chawla, and Waheed Shaikh, deputy director admin, excise and taxation department, skipped a call-up notice meeting with the anti-graft watchdog.

According to NAB rules, the anti-graft watchdog could arrest any suspect who ignores three call-up notices and does not appear before its investigation officer. “Usually we send three call-up notices with the gap of seven to 15 days and then arrest the suspects on the court orders if the suspects ignore all the three call-up notices,” a senior official of NAB who wished not to be named had told The News.

The officer further said that a special committee has been formed and a team is conducting inquiry at a fast pace. Talking about the allegations, he said that there are several allegations, including misuse of power and corruption, and that NAB relies only on evidence and documents so we can stand in the court strongly.

The officer warned that failure to appear before NAB could result in not only arrests but also the implementation of additional legal measures.

‘Chawla’s name placed on ECL’

“The former Sindh minister’s name has been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL),” claimed well-placed sources. Names of over 60 blue-eyed officers of the former ruling party in Sindh have been put on the no-fly list, the sources added.

The bureau's Karachi office is likely to open inquiries against the government officers, who are considered close to the PPP.