KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday dismissed another pre-arrest bail petition of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani in a matter pertaining to alleged embezzlement of funds in the construction of MPAs’ Hostel after his lawyer did not press it.
When a two-judge bench headed by Justice Mohammad Iqbal Kalhoro took up the petition for hearing, the applicant was found absent.
The lawyer for the petitioner informed the bench that the high court had a day earlier dismissed his client’s bail petition in a matter pertaining to alleged accumulation of assets beyond his known means of income. Thereafter, the counsel contended, the petitioner has gone to Islamabad to seek relief from Supreme Court. For the time being, the lawyer did not press the bail petition with permission to file a fresh one in the same inquiry as and when required.
The bench said, “In view of above, this petition is dismissed as not pressed in the above terms”.
Defence lawyer tells court his client is in Islamabad to seek relief from SC
Last month, the SHC had granted an interim pre-arrest bail to the Sindh Assembly speaker against a surety bond of Rs1 million after he approached the court and expressed apprehension that he might be arrested by the National Accountability Bureau in an ongoing investigation against him and references regarding alleged embezzlement of funds in the construction of MPAs’ Hostel as well as the new Sindh Assembly building.
On Wednesday, the SHC had turned down bail petitions of Speaker Durrani and 10 other suspects in a corruption reference filed in 2019 against him, his family members and 13 others for allegedly accumulating assets worth over Rs1.61 billion through illegal means.
However, NAB could not arrest him soon after dismissal of his bail petition. His lawyer claimed that now he was in the federal capital to challenge the SHC order in the apex court.
Secretary provincial assembly gets bail
The same bench on Thursday granted protective bail to the Sindh Assembly secretary during the investigation of a case pertaining to embezzlement of funds in the construction of MPAs’ Hostel and the new assembly building.
The bench directed the petitioner him to appear before the accountability court.
Mohammad Umar Farooq, through his lawyer, had moved the SHC and submitted that at present he was posted as the provincial assembly secretary (BPS-21) and challenged the jurisdiction of NAB to hold investigation. He also sought his bail.
However, the bench observed that an Ordinance had been promulgated and gazetted on Oct 7 enabling accountability courts to deal with bail matters.
“In consequence thereof, without touching merits of the case, the petitioner is granted protective bail for a period of 10 days from today (Oct 14) against the surety already furnished by him, enabling him to appear before the administrative judge of accountability courts at Karachi for relief in accordance with the law if he has apprehension of being arrested,” the order said.
Published in Dawn, October 15th, 2021