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November 16, 2017

Court orders start of proceedings to declare absconders POs


November 16, 2017


The accountability court hearing the Rs170 million corruption reference against former DIG Deen Muhammad Baloch and others on Wednesday directed the case investigation officer (IO) to initiate proceedings to declare the absconding accused, namely Ahmed Baloch, Ghulam Akbar Memon and Riaz Memon, proclaimed offenders.

The court directed the IO to initiate the process and submit a detailed report on December 6. The court had separately indicted Deen Muhammad Baloch and Murad Bukhsh Baloch. Both the accused had denied the charges and pleaded not guilty.

Murad Bakhsh Baloch was earlier an absconding accused. He had surrendered before the court and, subsequently, was indicted after an amended charge sheet against him was submitted. The suspect had, however, denied the corruption charges after which the court had summoned witnesses.

Deen Muhammad Baloch, Murad Bukhsh Baloch and others are alleged to have committed corruption of more than Rs170 million. Several accused, including Ahmed Baloch, Ghulam Akbar Memon and Riaz Memon, are absconders and the court has been issuing non-bailable arrest warrants for them. It is alleged that Deen Muhammad Baloch, who was appointed as an ASI, illegally purchased properties in the name of his family members and others.  

Dr Asim case adjourned

An accountability court adjourned the hearing of the Rs462 billion corruption reference against former petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain and other accused for a day.

At a previous hearing, prosecution witness Muhammad Akram, who had earlier recorded his statement, was cross-examined by the attorneys for Pakistan Peoples Party leader Dr Asim Hussain and his co-accused. The lawyers had demanded documents as proof and the court had directed the witness to submit the relevant documents while allowing the defence lawyers to conduct further cross-examination at the next hearing.

Dr Asim Hussain, Zohair Siddiqui, Shoaib Warsi, Basharat Mirza, Iqbal Z Ahmed, Malik Usman, Athar Hussain, Muhammad Safdar, former Sui Southern Gas Company managing director Khalid Usman and others are accused in the corruption references. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed two corruption references against them; one of around R17 billion and the second of over Rs462 billion. 

Talking to journalists after his court appearance, Dr Asim said he was not directed by his party to explain as to why he met Muttahida Qaumi Movement Pakistan chief Dr Farooq Sattar. He said a section of the media was misleading the people about his meeting with Dr Sattar. He said his party had raised no objections in this regard.

Ex-KDA chief remand

An accountability court on Tuesday allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to keep former Karachi Development Authority (KDA) director general Nasir Abbas and another KDA official Ubaid Ahmed Khan in custody till November 27.

The investigation officer (IO) told the court that the two men, who were in attendance, were allegedly involved in illegally building marriage halls and a filling station on government land. Besides, the accused had violated due rules and regulations in auctioning government plots in the area of Gulistan-e-Jauhar, the IO added. The IO requested the court to allow extend their physical remand for further interrogations.

The attorney for Nasir Abbas said his client had been chained up in custody which had caused him severe mental stress. He maintained that the investigators were resorting to measures that were endangering his client’s life. 

The defence lawyer’s request against the remand extension plea was, however, rejected by the court which allowed the anti-graft agency to keep both accused in custody till November 27.

Abbas is accused of illegally acquiring a park located in Gulistan-e-Jauhar, converting it into a residential plot and transferring the ownership of the park which was an amenity plot. The Federal Investigation Authority (FIA) has also booked Abbas in two corruption cases. Another co-accused, Muhammad Hanif, is also being tried along with Abbas in a money laundering case. The FIA had recovered four vehicles and a huge quantity of prize bonds from Abbas’ possession and an appellate court had earlier rejected his bail plea in the money laundering case.




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