ISLAMABAD, Jan 31: The Supreme Court was surprised on Thursday when it was informed by the Federal Investigation Agency that Abu Dhabi Interpol had asked Pakistan to initiate an extradition process to get the custody of fugitive Tauqir Sadiq.
The former chairman of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) is accused of causing a loss of Rs83 billion to the national exchequer.
The FIA’s Director (Legal) Mohammad Azam said that in its communication to the NCB (National Central Bureau), which was subsequently conveyed to NAB, Abu Dhabi Interpol stated that Sadiq had been arrested on Jan 30 by the UAE CID, but Pakistan would have to send an extradition request.
Sadiq went into hiding after the apex court had on Nov 25, 2011, declared his appointment as Ogra chief illegal and directed NAB to investigate corruption cases against him.
“Given the present situation, my gut feeling is that Sadiq will not come to Pakistan,” observed Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, who heads a two-judge bench hearing a case relating to the arrest of the former Ogra chief.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain is the other member of the bench.
Justice Khawaja said he had failed to understand who the extradition question had cropped up as the matter pertained to deportation since Tauqir Sadiq’s passport was cancelled.
The FIA director explained that it was a policy of the UAE administration to never deport a person if he made an investment in that country and was issued a residence visa.
Although Sadiq’s passport had been cancelled, he could not be deported unless he broke laws of the UAE.
Sadiq is running a labour employment and immigration-related business in the UAE. The NAB’s investigating officer, Waqas Ahmed Khan who went to the UAE to arrest Sadiq, informed the court that because of the bureau’s efforts the passport of the former Orga chief had been cancelled and his name put on exit control list of the UAE.
He recounted the difficulties and pressure he had faced in the UAE during his efforts to arrest Sadiq and how reports from Pakistan that the fugitive was also involved in a murder case hindered his deportation. The court was informed that NAB had finalised a reference against 12 members of a selection committee who had approved the appointment of Sadiq and it was waiting for a final nod from the chairman.
The reference includes the names of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, incumbent Prime Minister Raja Parvez Ashraf, Tauqir Sadiq, water and power secretary Zafar Mehmood and other officers of OGRA, cabinet division and the water and power ministry.
A list of 13 people who had facilitated Sadiq’s escape from the country has also been prepared by NAB and a separate reference against them would soon be finalised. The court was informed that Sadiq and members of his family had 41 accounts in different cities from where Rs3 billion had been withdrawn.
The court ordered NAB and FIA to submit a report on efforts made to arrest Sadiq and also provide details how his arrests were hampered.
The court was told that efforts were being made to arrest Imran, who was suspected of sending the amount to Sadiq. The last transaction of 60,000 dirham was made in the name of Sajjad in Dubai from Pakistan.
The hearing was adjourned to Feb 7.