KARACHI, May 29: The Sindh High Court on Thursday allowed an appeal by former excise and taxation minister Ismail Rahu against his conviction and sentence by an accountability court.

The appellant was accused of receiving a huge amount from a liquor merchant, ex-MPA Mehru Mal, in kickbacks to facilitate tax evasion by him. The ex-MPA, who fled the country after military take-over in 1999, claimed that he had paid Rs 90 million to government ministers and officers to avoid taxes.

A reference was filed by the National Accountability Bureau and Mr Rahu was arrested in June 2001. He was tried by an accountability court, which sentenced him to undergo seven years imprisonment and pay a fine of Rs 20 million or serve another three years’ jail in default. He challenged the order and an appellate bench of the high court, which had earlier reserved its judgment, set it aside.

ADMITTED TO BAIL: Former Bankers Equity chairman Rauf B. Kadri was on Thursday admitted to bail in the sum of Rs 5 million with a personal bond in the like amount.

He is facing trial in an accountability court for alleged misappropriation of 4.75 million paid by the Bankers Equity Limited to the National Technology Development Corporation as secondment charges for the services of nominee director Dr Najeeb Sami.

A division bench, comprising Justices Ata-ur-Rahman and Azizullah M. Memon, observed that the case was registered in March 2000, but no charge has, so far, been framed.

The statutory delay, which could not be attributed to him, entitled him to bail under Section 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code. The amendment to the section that did away with the grant of bail for delay in trial was subsequent to his arrest.

Rauf Kadri is serving a jail term in another accountability case. His appeal against his conviction and sentence is pending before the high court.

RECOVERY ALLOWED: The Sindh High Court has allowed the provincial excise and taxation department to recover its dues amounting to Rs 2.2 million from an entertainment firm.

A division bench had on May 7 barred the department from using coercive methods to recover the entertainment duty M/s Wonderland were liable to pay on their “amusement machines”.

The interim order was valid for 15 days and Additional Advocate-General Abbas Ali informed the bench on Thursday that the petitioner firm had not made any payment despite a lapse of 21 days. The court observed that the stay stood vacated and allowed the department to recover its dues.