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Car thief operating from jail IHC orders inquiry

June 06, 2012

ISLAMABAD, June 5: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday directed the inspectors general of Punjab prisons and Islamabad police to investigate that how a jailed car thieves’ ringleader managed to receive payments from the owners of stolen cars for the recovery of their vehicles.

According to prosecution, Rizwan Asghar, owner of a stolen car and a resident of Chaklala, in his complaint to the police alleged that the ringleader, Zahid Shah, contacted him in August last year on his cellphone from Adiala jail and demanded Rs55,000 for the return of his car.

Asghar said he paid him the amount but could not get his car back and then filed a complaint with Kohsar police, the area where the crime took place. He also identified the alleged ringleader during an identification parade held in August last year. Police then registered an FIR under section 381-A, 411 and 419 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) on August 29, 2011 against Mr Shah.

Mr Shah, at present in Adiala jail, approached the IHC in May for his bail in this particular case, but Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui dismissed his post-arrest bail plea.

The judge expressed surprise that how a prisoner got the facility of cellphone in jail and received Rs55,000 from Asghar for the return of his stolen car.

He pointed out that the manner in which Shah received the amount from the complainant Asghar was in fact a slap on the face of law enforcing authorities adding that “alarming increase of such type of offences, only strengthens the belief that criminals, like Shah, have support of some influential people, including police of Islamabad Capital Territory and staff of Adiala jail.”

The court directed the two inspectors general to hold inquiries and fix the responsibility in this regard.

“They are also directed to submit compliance report to the registrar of this court for perusal and passing any further order, if needed,” the order said.

Zahid Shah through his counsel Saifullah Serohey filed an application in the IHC in May for the post-arrest bail after his bail pleas were rejected by the judicial magistrate and sessions judge Islamabad on February 2, 2012 and April 4, 2012 respectively.

His counsel told the apex court that Shah was implicated in the case.

The counsel said that Shah had been behind the bars since October 10, 2008 and when Mr Asghar’s car was picked up he was still in prison.

The standing counsel for the federal government representing the Islamabad Police, on the other hand, told the court that Shah was a habitual and hardened criminal and involved in so many crimes.