RAWALPINDI, May 7: An accountability court here on Tuesday sentenced former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra), Tauqir Sadiq, to three years’ imprisonment for not appearing before the court during the proceedings of a corruption reference against him.

The court also issued perpetual warrants for his arrest and ordered the prosecution agency - National Accountability Bureau (NAB) - to confiscate his assets and properties.

Tauqir Sadiq, the principal accused in the Rs82 billion scam case, fled to Abu Dhabi last year after the Supreme Court on November 25, 2011, declared his appointment as chairman Ogra illegal and ordered his arrest for the corruption.

Mr Sadiq allegedly has close links with a senior leader of the PPP who reportedly played a major role in his escape from Pakistan despite cancellation of his passport and inclusion of his name in the Exit Control List (ECL).

During the proceedings on Tuesday, NAB additional deputy prosecutor general Ghulam Abbas submitted an application to the accountability court judge Shahid Naseer under section 31-A of the NAB ordinance.

The section empowers the accountability court to sentence an accused up to three years imprisonment if he did not join the proceedings.

The NAB prosecutor told the court that Mr Sadiq neither joined the investigation nor appeared before the court despite the fact that he had been declared a proclaimed offender last month and the court had ordered to freeze his property.

He requested the court to sentence him in absentia so the bureau could take further action against him to complete the legal course.

According to the prosecution, Mr Sadiq and members finance and gas of the authority issued 306 licences for new CNG stations during the fiscal year 2009-10 and 170 licences in 2010-11, violating a government ban imposed in 2008 because of severe gas shortages across the country.

They were also accused of giving undue favours to private companies.

Their alleged wrongdoings caused billion of rupees loss to the national exchequer.

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