ISLAMABAD, July 24: Two senior officers of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) were arrested and sent to jail for showing contempt to the Supreme Court by beating and humiliating an accused within the court premises on Thursday.

On learning about the incident, Chief Justice Abdul Hameed Dogar convened a special three-member bench and ordered a senior police officer to arrest NAB’s monitoring officer Colonel (retd) Tariq Bhatti and investigating officer Mohammad Aslam for committing contempt of court.

“They don’t have any respect for the sanctity of this court,” Chief Justice Hameed Dogar, who headed the special bench, observed in an angry tone. He wondered who had given them the authority to arrest anyone from within the premises of the court.

“Even if they had warrants, they could have arrested the accused outside the premises of the court,” the chief justice observed.

The bench was convened on a hurriedly moved application by senior counsel Syed Sharifuddin Pirzada, Senator Babar Awan and Wasim Sajjad representing Haris Steel Industries (Pvt). They requested the court to take an immediate action against the delinquent officers and order release of Irfan Ali, an accountant of the company.

They said that after the hearing of a transfer case on Thursday, their client Irfan Ali had been mercilessly beaten up on the ground floor of the Supreme Court building by four or five men of NAB.

The court was hearing a petition for transfer of a case related to the Bank of Punjab from Lahore High Court to the Supreme Court.

Sharifuddin Pirzada, Wasim Sajjad, two former NAB prosecutors general Irfan Qadir and Naveed Rasool Mirza and Senator Babar Awan moved the petition, seeking shifting of the case.

They said they did not expect any justice from the high court as it was, “under the influence” of PML-N chief Nawaz Sharif and his brother, Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif.

Despite directives of the high court not to harass the accused and not to raid the premises of Haris Steel Industries, the NAB authorities confiscated Rs270 million by breaking lockers inside the company. The LHC on July 15 even refused to proceed with the matter.

On Thursday, the Supreme Court restrained NAB from harassing or taking any action against the accused and adjourned the hearing for Aug 6.

After the hearing, the NAB officers entered the room meant for Advocate-on-Records where Mr Irfan was waiting to get written orders of the court. They dragged him, beating up all the way to the parking lot and dumped him in a vehicle.

The entire episode was recorded by cameramen of different private channels and when some journalists tried to stop the officials they were threatened not to interfere in state affairs. The NAB officials even tried to snatch a camera recording the event.

Reporters also filed affidavits before the court narrating the incident.

The Chief Justice summoned NAB chairman Naveed Ahsan, NAB Prosecutor General Dr Danishwar Malik, Attorney General Malik Mohammad Qayyum and the officers involved in the manhandling of Irfan.The attorney general informed the court that initially the NAB officers denied arresting Irfan from the court premises, but when they were told that their claim could be contested by showing the footage, they had accepted it.

The court ordered the NAB chairman to launch a departmental inquiry against the officers and release Mr Irfan.

Mr Irfan informed the court that the NAB officers had taken away Rs450,000 from his possession when he was arrested. The court asked him to submit an affidavit.

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