KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Friday granted bail to Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in a reference pertaining to possessing assets beyond his known sources of income.
A two-judge bench headed by Justice Omar Sial directed the ministry of interior to place the name of the provincial assembly speaker on the Exit Control List.
The bench directed the PA speaker to furnish a solvent surety in the amount of Rs10 million and a personal bond in the like amount to the satisfaction of the nazir of the court.
The bench questioned the manner in which NAB had arrested Mr Durrani and his house was searched and said that the “unholy rush” to arrest the petitioner was apparently unjustified and did not reflect well on NAB.
The bench hoped that the NAB chairman would issue a directive that training, discipline and professionalism of his officers on the ground were further enhanced and procedures of a search and arrest should be revisited.
The bench in its order observed that the petitioner deserved the concession of bail as on a tentative assessment it appeared that there were a number of aspects in this matter, which made it a case of further inquiry.
It also confirmed the interim pre-arrest bail earlier granted to Agha Masihuddin Khan, a brother of Siraj Durrani, and other petitioners, with an observation that the benefit granted to main petitioner would flow to them and there appeared to be “tinges of mala fide” on the part of NAB floating on the face of the record.
It further observed that the bench was unable to understand the wisdom behind NAB arresting people at inquiry stages unless the suspects were not cooperating. It added that NAB could not satisfactorily explained what was the pressing need to arrest the petitioner since as per NAB he was cooperating with the investigators while record revealed that the investigation was authorised well after the arrest of petitioner.
“There is a manner that is prescribed in law for a law enforcement agency to search a home of a person. Most regrettably, it appears that the search conducted by NAB of Durrani’s house was conducted in a crude and unprofessional manner without following the procedure laid down in Section 103 CrPC,” the order said.
It further stated that the investigating officer conceded that he was not even aware about the provision of Section 103 of the Criminal Procedure Code.
“The unholy rush to arrest Mr Durrani whilst he was in Islamabad prima facie appears to be wholly unjustified and does not reflect well on NAB,” it added.
“The state has far-reaching powers to investigate, prosecute and punish, but in a democratic society it is expected that these powers should be exercised with respect for the autonomy and dignity of each individual and his home,” it observed.
NAB had arrested Mr Durrani in February in Islamabad. It later filed a reference against him regarding accumulation of assets worth over Rs1.61 billion through illegal means.
Published in Dawn, December 14th, 2019