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The Supreme Court of Pakistan.—File Photo

ISLAMABAD: Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry took notice on Monday of CNG station licences illegally issued during the tenure of two former prime ministers — Yousuf Raza Gilani and Raja Pervez Ashraf.

The suo motu action was taken on a note of the Supreme Court registrar and the matter will be taken up on Wednesday by a three-judge bench headed by the chief justice.

The registrar’s note cited allegations levelled in a TV talk show that efforts were being made by bureaucracy to conceal dubious summaries sent to Yousuf Raza Gilani who, despite a ban, had granted illegal licences to 450 CNG stations in collusion with former Ogra chief Tauqir Sadiq, brother-in-law of PPP leader Jahangir Badar.

“Corruption of billions of rupees is involved in the matter,” the note said.

It highlighted another big corruption in which Raja Pervez Ashraf had allegedly approved 200 illegal CNG station licences despite the ban. But the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority did not implement the decision and constituted a technical committee to look into the matter and sought clarification from the Ministry of Petroleum.

Ogra is now being pressurised to issue licences to at least 69 of the stations belonging to relatives/favourites of former parliamentarians.

The note said that former adviser to the prime minister on petroleum Dr Asim Hussain and former finance minister Saleem H. Mandviwala had got one-time approval from the Economic Coordination Committee of the cabinet of a summary declaring illegal import of 59 containers of CNG cylinders as legal. Eight groups in the CNG sector are involved in the scam of importing 42,000 cylinders.

The registrar’s note said the allegations, if proved, would constitute a blatant violation of the government policy, PPRA rules and breach of fundamental rights guaranteed under articles 9, 18 and 24 of the constitution.