LAHORE: Apparently in response to the criticism of Senate Deputy Chairman Saleem Mandviwala, National Accountability Bureau Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal has said some elements have launched a propaganda against it but NAB will continue following ‘merit’ in all cases.

Referring indirectly to Mr Mandviwala, the chairman said: “I ask from those who only criticise NAB but they need to tell where it commits mistakes. Criticism only for the sake of criticism is not justified,” he said at the cheques distribution among the affected people of Model Housing Enclave Project and Ferozepur Housing Society here on Wednesday at bureau’s provincial headquarters Thokar Niaz Beg.

An amount of Rs760 million was distributed among 3,000 affectees of both housing societies.

Regarding deaths in NAB’s custody, the chairman said: “The difference between NAB custody and judicial custody should be understood. Some allege that 17 people died in NAB custody. I ask them to prove it. I clarify that there were only two deaths in NAB custody, one in 2002 and other in 2004, and I assumed the charge in 2017. And those who died had natural causes of death.”

Rs760m given to 3,000 affectees of two schemes

Talking about complaints of the business community, Mr Iqbal said: “No businessman in the country had [ever] faced any problem because of NAB. The business community is the backbone of the economy. The stock exchange could not have made a positive trend had the NAB created problems for the business community,” he declared.

Justice Iqbal said: “NAB undergoes an accountability process as soon as the suspect is produced before the court where on the basis of evidence the remand is granted.” He said in the cases related to white collar crimes, the court did not give 90-day remand straight away but it was granted after production of satisfactory evidence.

The chairman said it was for the first time in the country’s history that NAB had distributed a huge sum of Rs2.5 billion [recovered from the accused through plea bargain] among affectees during the last two years in any single housing society scandal.

Appreciating the performance of NAB Lahore under the supervision of Director General Shahzad Saleem, the chairman said distribution of millions of rupees among affectees after recovering from the culprits in a short span of merely two years was laudable.

Earlier, the combined investigations teams (CITs) headed by Mr Saleem briefed him about progress in mega corruption cases.

Last week, Saleem Mandviwala had announced that he would approach the European Union and other international human rights organisations against the violation of human rights by NAB.

Published in Dawn, January 21st, 2021

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