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SHC grants interim bail to business tycoon in Ogra graft case

October 05, 2012

A view of the Sindh High Court building. The SHC issued notice to respondents for next date of hearing. — File Photo

KARACHI: The Sindh High Court on Thursday granted interim pre-arrest bail to business tycoon Aqeel Karim Dhedhi in a case pertaining to corruption proceedings initiated against former Chairman of Oil & Gas Regulatory Authority (Ogra) Tauqir Sadiq on the Supreme Court's order.

A division bench of the SHC, headed by Justice Faisal Arab, granted interim bail to Dhedhi until October 11, 2012, subject to furnishing solvent surety in sum of Rs 1million.

Dhedhi had filed an application in the SHC seeking pre-arrest bail and protection from what he called harassment by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

He impleaded Federal Interior Secretary, Chairman National Accountability Bureau and Director General NAB Sindh as respondents.

Advocate Jan Karim Dhedhi submitted that Registrar of Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority had challenged the appointment of Sadiq as chairman of the authority and against misuse of official authority and corruption by Sadiq.

He stated that during the hearing of the case, the Supreme Court had ordered the NAB to initiate an investigation into the scam.

Submitting his report on Sept 28, 2012, the NAB Chairman had stated that the Ogra had notified an increase in UFG (Unaccounted for Natural Gas) from 5 per cent to 7 per cent for 45 days, which benefited the Sui Southern Gas Company Limited, of which applicant A K Dhedhi was major private shareholder.

The NAB report further blamed that the beneficiaries of the scam, including a Lahore-based Mirza & Minto company as well as a broker of the Karachi Stock Exchange, had not joined the investigation proceedings properly.

Advocate J K Dhedhi contended that being a private shareholder of the SSGCL, his client was accused of benefiting from the scam despite the fact that the Pakistan government being a holder of 80 per cent shares of the SSGCL itself benefited from it.

He contended that the applicant was a business tycoon and owned a large business group, AKD Group of Companies, besides which he was extending his advisory services to the government.

Neither did he benefit from the scam nor was he called by the investigating agency for questioning, the counsel said.

The counsel contended that his client was being constantly harassed by the investigating agency, which should be stopped from such practices. He also prayed for the granting of a pre-arrest bail to the applicant to enable him to assist in the scam's inquiry.

Without touching the merits of the case, the SHC division bench granted interim pre-arrest bail to the applicant until Oct 11, 2012 subject to furnishing solvent surety in sum of Rs 1 million for the satisfaction of the SHC Nazir.

Meanwhile, notices were issued to respondents for the next date of hearing.