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Tycoon case drags on

September 05, 2012

RAWALPINDI, September 5: Prosecutor general of Punjab government on Wednesday, while opposing the transfer of a land fraud case from Anti Corruption Establishment (ACE) to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in which Malik Riaz and his son Ahmed Ali Riaz are allegedly involved, claimed that the NAB Court could not take up forgery related cases because these offences had been excluded from the schedule offences of NAB in 2008.

A special division bench of Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi registry continued the hearing of 1,401 kanals of land fraud case for consecutive third days as it is working under a deadline set by the Supreme Court to decide the matter related to the transfer of the case till September 15.

LHC Justice Khawaja Imtiaz Ahmed and Justice Shahid Hameed Dar on Wednesday resumed hearing of the land fraud case.

Representing ACE, the prosecutor general Punjab adopted before the court that NAB on November 11, 2003 vide a statutory regulations order (SRO) included the forgery related clauses of section 468 and 471 of Pakistan Panel Code into its schedule offences and started taking over the deals with the forgery related crimes.

He said that in 2008, NAB authorities in order to ever increasing workload requested the federal government for exclusion of forgery related sections from its schedule of offences and the government, after the approval of federal cabinet issued another SRO on August 24, 2008 in which it eliminated these sections from the schedule of offences of NAB.

This crime again came under the ACE’s ambit and currently, hundreds of identical cases are pending in the Anti Corruption Court (ACC).

He pointed out that the NAB did not raise the ACE jurisdiction in the process of inquiry of this particular land fraud case, since 2009 but the question regarding the jurisdiction was pointed out only after the appointment of current NAB chief admiral (retired) Fasih Bokhari.

The chairman was appointed on October 27, last year and NAB recollected its so called jurisdiction in November, in less than a month’s time of the chairman’s appointment, he added.

He alleged that NAB chief because of his close relations with Malik Riaz is trying to rescue him in the land fraud case, adding that earlier governor Punjab not only tried to suspend the inquiry conducted by the ACE in the land fraud case but also issued show cause notices to the inquiry officers.

He said the powerful and influential tycoon wanted to transfer the case from ACE to NAB because he knew that he can easily get a clean chit from friendly NAB in the land fraud case.

Justice Imtiaz while giving some weight to the arguments of prosecutor general NAB K. K. Agha observed that the matter of jurisdiction cannot be compromised on the assumption of alleged relationship between an accused with the investigation agency.

Malik Riaz may be in some sort of relationship with the chairman NAB but this aspect of jurisdiction can not be ignored, the judge remarked.

Prosecutor general K. K. Agha in his arguments told the court that chairman NAB under section 16-A can transfer a case from any court or tribunals and under the law it is mandatory for the courts or tribunals to transfer the case which is asked for.

He also cited judgments in the identical matters in which the court admitted the NAB’s jurisdiction and transferred the cases of the same nature to the NAB courts.