The Supreme Court on Monday stopped the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) from probing alleged irregularities in the Peshawar Bus Rapid Transit project.
A three-member bench of the apex court headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial announced its verdict on the Khyber Pakhtunkhwa government's petition challenging a Peshawar High Court order from November 2019 directing the FIA to conduct an inquiry into different aspects of the bus project.
Additionally, the apex court sought details of the total cost as well as details regarding the completion of the project.
"What is the initial cost of the BRT? What was the initial date for the completion of the project? When will it be finished?" Justice Bandial inquired.
"Is there even a date for the completion of the project?" asked Justice Mazhar Alam Khan Miankhel.
During the proceedings, the KP government's lawyer alleged that the PHC had issued its verdict without any reasoning.
"The PHC had given a verdict which the petitioner had not even requested," the lawyer claimed.
While the top court stopped the FIA from investigating the project, the KP government said the new date for the completion of the Peshawar BRT is July 31 of this year.
FIA investigates BRT
In December last year, a five-member special inquiry team of the FIA, KP, had started a probe into alleged irregularities in the Peshawar BRT project in line with the PHC’s directions.
After hearing three petitions related to the bus-transit system, a high court bench consisting of Chief Justice Waqar Ahmad Seth and Justice Ahmad Ali had directed the FIA on November 14, 2019, to probe the project in light of 35 points identified by it and act against delinquents if any found in the inquiry report to be compiled in 45 days.
Following this, the KP government and Peshawar Development Authority (PDA) had moved the apex court against the verdict.
A high court bench headed by Justice Seth had also ordered the National Accountability Bureau on Jul 17, 2018, to conduct a proper investigation and inquiry into the BRT's affairs. However, the provincial government and PDA had filed a petition with the Supreme Court, requesting to set aside the said order.
As a Supreme Court bench headed by the then chief justice, Mian Saqib Nisar, had suspended the high court’s order on Sept 4, 2018, findings of NAB’s inquiry didn’t see the light of day.