ISLAMABAD: While the Supreme Court’s deadline for arrest of former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Tauqeer Sadiq falls on Monday (today), laying hands on him seems to be a Herculean task for the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Punjab police.
Well-informed sources believe that Mr Sadiq has fled abroad though his name has been placed on the Exit Control List (ECL) on the orders of the court.
On Monday, the court will hold a hearing in the Ogra case, relating to a Rs45 billion scam, and the NAB and the police have been asked to produce Mr Sadiq in the court.
When contacted, NAB’s media director Muhammed Irfan told Dawn that efforts were being made to arrest Mr Sadiq but added that the police believed that he had left the country. “But we still have one day to arrest him,” the official said.
The Punjab IG reassured the court a few days ago that Mr Sadiq would be arrested before the end of the deadline.
Meanwhile, it remains a mystery how he managed to escape when his name is on the ECL.
NAB spokesman Zafar Iqbal said that the police had told the court during last hearing of the case that he was out of the country but “they will make effort to arrest him.”
“Let’s wait for police response on Monday,” he said.
In the NAB reference, Sadiq and three other officials of Ogra — member gas Mansoor Ali Muzaffar, member finance Mir Kamal Farid Bijarani and Jawad Jamil, staff officer to former chairman — have been accused of committing misuse of authority and embezzlement and causing Rs44.57bn loss to national ex-chequer by converting Ogra’s operating (regular) income into non-operating income in violation of an agreement signed with Asian Development Bank and World Bank, relocation of several CNG stations, illegal appointments etc.
The reference has been filed on the directives of the apex court.
Sadiq is said to be a close relative of Jehangir Badar, secretary-general of the Pakistan People’s Party.
Earlier, the court had issued a deadline of October 5 for the arrest of Sadiq but the NAB had failed to do so.
On Nov 25 last year, the court had declared the appointment of Sadiq as Ogra chairman illegal and ordered the NAB to investigate into corruption charges against him and submit its findings in 45 days.
The court had observed that five people were involved in illegal appointment of Sadiq, including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
Media reports said that Sadiq had recently written a letter to the cabinet committee investigating NAB claims that the country was losing billions of rupees every day because of corruption.
In his letter, Sadiq said that he too was a victim of “such baseless allegations” and that the claims made by the NAB were hard to substantiate.