SC orders action against PM in Tauqir Sadiq case
* Court directs NAB to file references against Raja, Rehman Malik, Badar over illegal appointment of former OGRA chief
By Hasnaat Malik
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Thursday, in the Tauqir Sadiq case, directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to file references against Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, Interior Minister Rehman Malik and PPP Secretary General Jehangir Badar and sought a compliance report before by January 30.
A two-member-bench of the apex court comprising Justice Jawad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain heard the case pertaining to the implementation of the court’s order to arrest former Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) chairman Tauqeer Sadiq. The court ordered filing of references against the accused persons for the illegal appointment of Tauqeer Sadiq as OGRA chairman and later helping him in escape from the country after causing a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
The court ordered that the references be filed against the accused within a week after NAB Director Irfan Baig informed the court that Interior Minister Rehman Malik and PPP’s Senator Jehangir Badar were involved in the safe escape of Tauqir Sadiq. He further told the court that a report to file a reference against the accused was sent to the NAB chairman for approval.
To a court query regarding the people who approved the illegal appointment of the former OGRA chairman, the NAB director informed the court that the investigation against Prime Minister Raja was underway over the illegal appointment of Sadiq. NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Mazhar submitted in the court that police had held Tauqeer Sadiq in the UAE but released him later. The UAE authorities said that he was not wanted.
At this, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja observed that NAB is not innocent in this regard, adding that the team left for the UAE without the arrest warrant and that was the reason that the UAE authorities said that they have to abide by the law. Justice Jawad S Khawaja further observed that such carelessness shows that the government agencies are determined to not arrest him, and the Foreign Ministry is also following the footsteps of NAB and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain remarked that it was NAB’s motto to let go of big corrupt fish and only catch the weak and those accused in petty cases. The court adjourned the hearing of the case for January 30, and directed NAB to file references against the accused within a week.
Earlier during course of the proceedings, Justice Jawwad S Khawaja directed NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Chaudhry Mazhar Ali to give an explanation for not taking any step for filing of the references so far as more than a year period had lapsed after a decision of the court. Chaudhry Manzoor requested that a month’s time may be granted to the investigation team to complete the task. Expressing his displeasure, Justice Khawaja told him that the court was ready to grant ten months, but they should first give an explanation, and if their reply was in negative then they would proceed in the matter.
The NAB official said that the investigation officer Waqar Ahmed had been in Dubai with relevant documents and requested that time might be granted till his arrival. Upon the bench’s insistence, Irfan Baig, a NAB official, requested one week’s time for filing of references. He said that certain personalities who had not cooperated over the issue had been identified in the NAB report.