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JIT collecting proof in Arsalan-Riaz case

July 06, 2012

Px06-032 ISLAMABAD: Jun06 ? Son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Arslan Iftikhar returns after a hearing outside Supreme Court of Pakistan. ONLINE PHOTO by Waseem Khan
Arsalan Iftikhar outside the Supreme Court. — Photo by Online

ISLAMABAD, July 5: A Joint Investigation Team (JIT) has started collecting documentary evidence and record related to the Arsalan Iftikhar-Malik Riaz graft case from the departments concerned.

“The JIT has collected some documents from the Supreme Court and it will go to other departments also,” the National Accountability Bureau’s spokesman Zafar Iqbal told Dawn on Thursday.

He said each member of the team had been asked to collect evidence from different sources and departments.

The JIT was formed on Tuesday by NAB Chairman Fasih Bokhari under the attorney general’s directives to investigate the alleged dealings of Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, and real estate magnate Malik Riaz.

The five-member JIT is headed by the director general of NAB’s Financial Crimes Investigation Wing and includes two members from the bureau and one each from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and police.

The spokesman said the team’s terms of reference were to investigate the case and fix liabilities. He said both the accused, Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz, would be called to record their statements.

Another official said the scope of work of the JIT was quite wide as it would also contact off-shore banks and other institutions and to get information regarding alleged transfer of money to Arsalan Iftikhar’s accounts by Malik Riaz.

“The team will study all the relevant transactions, money trail, investments, commercial dealings, business profiles, meetings and, if required, details of communication between those associated in any manner with the case,” he said.

The Supreme Court took suo motu notice at midnight on June 5 of allegations that Arsalan Iftikhar had been doled out over Rs300 million by Malik Riaz, the owner of Bahria Town.

During hearing of the case, the court asked the government to investigate the bribes allegedly given to the chief justice’s son by the property tycoon.

In his statement submitted to the court, Arsalan Iftikhar denied the allegations, refuted having any relationship, intimacy or acquaintance with Malik Riaz, his daughter or son-in-law and said he had never met them in or outside Pakistan.

“Attorney General Irfan Qadir said in his letter sent to NAB that services of legal, financial and forensic experts can be hired by the JIT on a need basis,” another NAB official said.

The bureau’s chairman said in a recent statement that NAB had no “specific agenda” to conduct investigation but to comply with the orders of the Supreme Court. He said the investigation would be impartial and transparent, without prejudice or any internal or external pressure.

“The JIT will determine whether it is a case of collusion between two individuals or of extortion by any of the accused,” he added.