KARACHI: An accountability court indicted on Monday a former chairman of the Pakistan Steel Mills and others in two corruption references.

Ousted chairman Mueen Aftab Sheikh and former commercial director Sameen Asghar with dozens of dealers/ private persons have been charged with misusing their official powers with criminal intentions, causing financial losses of millions of rupees to the PSM by importing raw material at high costs and selling products at low rates in 2008-09.

The judge of accountability court-III, Munawar Sultana, read out the charges against the accused persons. However, they pleaded not guilty and opted to contest the charges.

The court summoned the prosecution witnesses with the direction to record their evidence on April 6.

The former chairman, some serving and former officials of the PSM and private persons have also been named in seven other references for allegedly committing corruption of over Rs20 billion on account of a number of alleged acts of criminal omission and commission and committing financial irregularities in awarding contracts.

Initially, the Federal Investigation Agency had investigated the cases and filed charge sheets in anti-corruption courts in 2010-11. However, on a request of the National Accountability Bureau, the cases were transferred to accountability courts in 2012 as the Supreme Court, expressing its dissatisfaction over the investigation conducted by the FIA, had ordered NAB to probe the cases. After holding fresh investigations, NAB filed nine references against the ex-chairman and others in 2015-16.

Published in Dawn, March 29th, 2016

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