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Ex-Ogra chief’s remand extended

July 24, 2013
Former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Tauqir Sadiq.—File Photo
Former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Tauqir Sadiq.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court extended on Tuesday the remand of former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Tauqir Sadiq till Aug 2 after investigators of the National Accountability Bureau sought his custody for further investigation.

NAB investigators produced Tauqir Sadiq, the main accused in the Rs82 billion Ogra scam, before Judge Mohammad Bashir.

Sadiq accused NAB investigators of torturing him and trying to force him to make false confessions.

“They kicked me in my face and beat up with punches and compelled me to record a statement against my close relatives, including PPP leader Jahangir Badar and his son Ali Badar.”

He also said that the investigators had humiliated and tortured him repeatedly after removing his clothes since his arrest on July 9.

Contrary to a NAB claim that during interrogation, Sadiq had disclosed names of a number of government functionaries and policy-makers and accused them of having received kickbacks, the accused said he had never said anything against anyone in connection with the Ogra scam.

Barrister Saeedur Rehman, Additional Deputy Prosecutor General of NAB, told the court that since the accused had disclosed names of some beneficiaries of the scam, the investigators required his custody for another 14 days.

An interim reference submitted in NAB in connection with the scam alleged that Sadiq, Mansoor Muzaffar Ali, member Gas, Mir Kamal Farid Bijarani Marri, member finance, and Jawad Jameel, staff officer to the Ogra chairman, were involved in the scam.

NAB has accused Sadiq of providing undue benefit to some private companies and individuals, causing a loss of Rs82bn to the exchequer.

According to the reference, Sadiq and the co-accused provided undue financial relief to private firms and individuals and issued licences for CNG stations on fake or bogus documents.

Sardar Asmatullah, the counsel for Sadiq, said in the court that the NAB reference was based on incorrect information.

He pointed out that an increase in unaccounted for gas (UFG) from 5 per cent to 7pc for the Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) and the Sui Southern Gas Company (SSGC) had been made after getting approval from the competent authority.

He said since the SNGPL and SSGC were state-owned companies, the increase in UFG benefited the government.

Meanwhile, a NAB investigation officer moved an application for warrants for arrest of former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani, but the court did not entertain it.

The officer later told Dawn that Sadiq had issued a notification for the increase in UFG on the instructions of Mr Gilani.

He said the application seeking Mr Gilani’s arrest warrants had been moved because he did not join the investigation although several notices had been issued to him.

The court sources told Dawn that under the Accountability Ordinance of 1999, NAB could issue arrest warrants to ensure attendance of a witness.

The accountability court, they said, could be requested for issuing arrest warrants only if a person required for interrogation was a fugitive or absconder.