Wednesday May 25, 2022

‘Probe into cognisable offences permissible’

By Our Correspondent
January 17, 2022

ISLAMABAD: The office of the attorney general for Pakistan has declared that the law allows the Federal Investigation Agency to probe complaints about offences, which are of cognisable nature.

The declaration comes in response to a letter of the FIA seeking the AGP office's advice on plans to look into the alleged corruption of the Drug Regulatory Authority of Pakistan's officials.

In a letter written to the AGP office on November 18, 2021, the FIA had said it had received multiple complaints/credible information of serious cognisable offences (under PPC/Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947, read with Drugs Act, 1976, and DRAP Act, 2012) against officials of the DRAP about the abuse of official authority for personal monetary gains depriving the public at large of their health safety and money through the sale of spurious, counterfeit, unregistered or pseudo drugs with impunity. It added that the situation warranted an 'incisive and comprehensive' inquiry under the FIA Act 1947 read with CrPC and other laws.

The FIA said the Supreme Court had directed it to 'proceed in private complaints (against DRAP) after due diligence in consultation with the AGP office and passing a speaking order'. It requested the AGP office to give necessary advice as to whether it (FIA) can initiate a probe in these serious (cognisable) issues affecting the public at large as per its inherent duty and mandate by passing a speaking order.

In the formal response to the FIA letter, the additional AGP, Lahore, said that it was the statutory duty of the agency (FIA) to deal with complaints (against DRAP officials) under the relevant law read with the FIA Act and provisions of the Criminal Procedure Code having jurisdiction in the matter and if the cognisable offence is made out from the contents of the complaints should proceed in accordance with the law.

“The office of the Attorney General for Pakistan has no mandate under the law to examine complaints for the registration of cases in cognisable offences. It is, therefore, advised that the FIA may proceed with the private complaints, examine the veracity, bona fide, and merits of each complaint by the respective heads, who shall pass a speaking order before taking action if the cognisable offence is made out under the law and proceed strictly in accordance with the law,” he said.