PESHAWAR: An accountability court here on Friday remanded director archeology and museums, Dr Abdus Samad, in custody of the National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for 10 days in a case of misuse of authority while making appointments of class-IV employees at different archaeological sites.
The judge Naveed Ahmad Khan directed the NAB officials to again produce the suspect on Feb 25. The court allowed close family members of the suspect to meet him during his custody with NAB. It also directed the NAB officials to permit the suspect to take important medicines routinely used by him.
Dr Samad was arrested a day earlier by NAB when he was asked to turn up at the bureau’s office for answering certain questions regarding the issue.
Bureau official claims Dr Abdus Samad has appointed 90 staffers in violation of rules
An investigation officer of NAB requested the court to allow 14 days of physical custody as the suspect had to be interrogated regarding different charges against him. He alleged that the suspect had made over 90 appointments of staffers at different archaeological sites in violation of the prescribed rules.
The judge directed the NAB officials to treat the suspect with respect as he was a teacher and enjoyed respect in the society.
Dr Samad addressed the court, stating that he was innocent and was implicated in a false case. He said that if he was proved guilty he should be awarded double sentence by the court, but in case of his innocence action should be taken against the concerned officials of NAB.
Senior advocate Shumail Ahmad Butt appeared for Dr Samad and opposed his physical custody to NAB. He stated that Dr Samad was a well-known archaeologist and had done his PhD in Archaeology from Germany and was also a Fulbright alumnus.
He said that his client was the youngest and one of the most talented directors of the archaeology directorate in the province and due to his services he was awarded Tamgha-i-Imtiaz by the federal government.
The counsel stated that his client had fully cooperated with the NAB during inquiry and investigation into the charges and there was no possibility of his absconding from law as he had been serving on a responsible government position.
He argued that recently the superior courts had issued directives to the NAB not to arrest any person without issuance of proper arrest warrants and conveying the same to a suspect prior to his arrest. However, he stated that his client was asked through a phone call to appear at NAB’s office and was arrested there without warrant.
He argued that the appointments in question did not amount to corruption or corrupt practices as there were no charges of receiving any bribe by his client in those appointments.
Meanwhile, the supporters of Dr Samad, including students, his colleagues and members of civil society, turned up at the accountability court in large number.
Several members of the civil society criticised the NAB’s move of arresting the director, stating that he had executed several important archaeological projects in the province.
Published in Dawn, February 16th, 2019