ISLAMABAD, Aug 2: The National Accountability Bureau passed the buck back to the Supreme Court on Thursday to decide whether or not a joint investigation team (JIT) should probe the Arsalan Iftikhar-Malik Riaz graft case.
K.K. Agha, NAB’s prosecutor general, informed the court that two members of the JIT (SP Islamabad Faisal Bashir Memom and FIA’s Nasarullah Godal) who had been accused by Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, of being partial, had been taken out of the team, leaving the remaining three members, all belonging to NAB, to investigate the matter.
He said NAB could even disband the JIT and give the task to another investigating agency if the court so desired.
A two-judge bench, comprising Justice Jawwad S. Khwaja and Khilji Arif Hussain, is hearing a review petition of Arsalan Iftikhar challenging the June 14 court order which, he claimed, contained inherent and apparent errors.
In the said order the court had asked Attorney General Irfan Qadir to handle the controversy relating to allegations of a business deal worth Rs342 million between Arsalan and Malik Riaz.
On July 31, the court had stopped the JIT from investigating the scam for two days, but maintained a status quo on Thursday till the time it takes a decision on the matter.
The NAB’s prosecutor general informed the court that on his advice the bureau’s chairman had decided to constitute a new investigating team comprising its own officials. “The bureau has no doubt about the credibility of Bashir Memom and Nasarullah Godal, but it is for the greater good that we form a new investigation team,” he said.
Justice Jawwad asked him what he had said should be submitted in writing.
On a petition of Malik Riaz filed by his counsel Zahid Bukhari, the court directed investigation teams and sub-ordinate courts to pursue cases against Malik Riaz and members of his family without getting under pressure because of the ongoing hearing in the Arsalan-Riaz case. The court adjourned the hearing for an indefinite period.
According to NAB sources, the bureau will dissolve the JIT if the apex court decided to hand over the graft case to another investigating agency.