ISLAMABAD: Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Friday observed that the Supreme Court on Thursday raised alarm over 90-day physical remand repeatedly sought by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against the same accused by implicating them in multiple references.
A three-judge Supreme Court bench headed by Justice Bandial said that it had never expressed concern when NAB sought 90-day physical remand of the accused, adding that what concerned the apex court was the bureau’s practice of seeking 90-day physical remand repeatedly for the same accused by filing multiple references against them.
The court said it had termed keeping the accused in custody continuously under one 90-day physical remand after another cruel and unjust.
It said the impression that the court was against detention of the accused over 90 days was wrong. It cast aspersions against the institution and, therefore, it must be removed.
The Supreme Court bench on Thursday had taken up a set of 25 appeals moved by NAB and clubbed together against the 2017 judgement of the Peshawar High Court (PHC). The issue concerns the filing of multiple references against the accused by NAB.
One of the appeals by NAB concerns Arshad Khan, former director general of Fata Disaster Management Authority (FDMA), facing allegations that he granted approval and forwarded fake and bogus claims of 161 persons and thereby misappropriated/embezzled Rs59.6 million of the FDMA rehabilitation grants which was to be distributed as compensation amongst affected persons for the damage caused to their houses due to security operations in Mohmand Agency.
Similarly, Justice Sayyed Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi, also a member of the bench, observed that the court could not declare as cruel a statutory provision in a law for keeping an accused in custody for 90 days.
Justice Naqvi said that he had stated on Thursday that in criminal cases only physical remand of 14 days and not 40 days could be granted. The court directed that the media should carry suitable clarification in this regard.
Published in Dawn, December 5th, 2020