KARACHI: Former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain on Saturday moved an application before an accountability court seeking quashment of a Rs462 billion corruption reference against him.

Dr Asim, a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari and president of the PPP’s Karachi chapter, along with former petroleum secretary Ejaz Chaudhry and others, has been accused of allegedly misusing his authority for getting plots allotted fraudulently and encroaching upon state land for expansion of his hospital/trust, money laundering, commission through fertiliser cartel for illegal curtailment of gas for exploitative price hike and fraud with public in the name of a charity hospital.

A lawyer for the former minister moved the application and argued that the reference was baseless and technically illegal since the matter regarding alleged illegal allotments of land was still pending before the apex court.

He further contended that besides the applicant, land was allotted to some other persons for educational purposes, but the National Accountability Bureau only targeted his client. The counsel alleged that NAB had been producing new documents in court against the applicant even after his indictment.

However, a NAB prosecutor opposed the plea and submitted that the accused was booked in the reference under multiple offences.

Judge Fareed Anwar Qazi of the Accountability Court-V adjourned the hearing till May 20 for remaining arguments of prosecutor.

NAB had also filed another reference of over Rs17bn against Dr Asim, managing director of the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited Khalid Rehman and some former senior officials of the gas utility and the Oil and Gas Development Company Limited for allegedly misusing their authority and fraudulently awarding gas contracts of five gas fields to Jamshoro Joint Venture Limited (JJVL).

Ex-IGP to be indicted on 20th

Another accountability court on Saturday deferred till May 20 the indictment of former inspector general of police Ghulam Haider Jamali and others in a corruption reference.

The former IGP along with the then AIG Finance Fida Hussain Shah and six other police officials, has been accused of allegedly making illegal appointments by misusing his authority in the Sindh Reserve Police (SRP), Hyderabad, causing a loss of over Rs50 million to the exchequer.

On the previous hearing, the court had provided the copies of documentary evidence — a mandatory requirement before the indictment — to the suspects and fixed May 6 for their arraignment.

However, when the reference came up for hearing before the court on Saturday, the defence counsel raised objection and submitted that complete documents were not provided to them.

Published in Dawn, May 7th, 2017