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ISLAMABAD, Nov 25 Lt-Gen (retd) Shahid Aziz was removed from the post of chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) because he was about to expose names of top politicians involved in major scandals, informed sources told Dawn on Wednesday.

They said the former NAB chairman was investigating involvement of some top politicians, including President Asif Ali Zardari, Mian Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Humayum Akhtar in scams relating to sugar, edible oil, stock exchange and petroleum products.

Lt-Gen Aziz, who appeared for the first time in the media since his removal from the NAB in 2006, told a private TV channel that he had been removed because he was investigating big scandals. “I was not allowed to work freely,” said the former NAB chairman.

Gen (retd) Aziz is said to be related to former President Pervez Musharraf.

“Cases against President Asif Ali Zardari, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Chaudhry Shujaat, Humayun Akhtar and others were ripped but were closed,” he said.

“In fact, NAB did not do itself any good when it quietly shelved its inquiry in March 2006 amid public accusations that most of those involved in the sugar crisis held important public positions, and hence got away with scandalous profiteering in such a sensitive food item as sugar.

“I was asked that the prices of sugar, edible oil and petroleum products would go all time high if the investigation continued and faces behind the scams were exposed,” Lt-Gen Aziz said.

In a report it presented before the Supreme Court recently, the NAB lent credence to rumours that blamed the sugar crisis of 2004-06 on top politicians.

It has named Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Nawaz Sharif, Shahbaz Sharif, Asif Ali Zardari, Humayun Akhtar, Jehangir Tareen, Altaf Saleem, Nasarullah Dareshak, Anwer Cheema and Mian Azhar, who between them are alleged to have hoarded as much as 316,690 metric tons of sugar, pushing its price up from Rs21 to Rs45 per kg.

According to the NAB report, Humayun Akhtar, his brother Haroon Akhtar and their cousin Shamim were the biggest sugar hoarders with a consolidated stock of 99,464 metric tons at the Kamalia, Tandlianwala, Miran and Layyah mills. At the second position were the two Sharif brothers whose three mills stashed away 68,648 metric tons.

However, the Sharif and Akhtar brothers have strongly rejected the allegations levelled against them in the NAB report.