SC indicts FIA DG for contempt | Pakistan Today

SC indicts FIA DG for contempt

The Supreme Court formally charged Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Director General (DG) Malik Muhammad Iqbal on Friday with contempt of court for transferring an investigation officer who was probing a billion-rupee scam in the National Insurance Corporation Limited (NICL) on court orders.
A three-member SC bench comprising Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Muhammad Sair Ali and Justice Ghulam Rabbani, however, stated that the FIA chief would be given full opportunity to defend himself. The court told Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq to acquire complete records of investigation in the NICL scam conducted by Zafar Qureshi, the transferred investigator, and by other FIA officers after his transfer, enabling the court to proceed further.
The court ordered Interior Secretary Qamar-uz-Zaman Chaudhry to submit the record of the letters that he had sent to Establishment Secretary Abdul Rauf Chaudhry in order to dissociate Qureshi from the investigation in question. The court also told the establishment secretary to provide records of documents on whose basis the notification to disassociate and transfer Qureshi from the NICL case was issued.
The court told FIA officials to present the records of supplementary notes of the investigation officer in the NICL scam. In the hearing, the court noted that it had not taken any stern action against Iqbal, but no further concession would be given. The chief justice admonished the FIA DG and said Inam Ghani, an official of the FIA, was also made officer on special duty as he had stated that Iqbal had transferred Qureshi. The court said since the FIA chief had admitted his crime, he should be indicted.
The chief justice noted that Iqbal had deliberately spoiled the investigation of the Haj and NICL scam cases. The court noted the absence of Iqbal’s counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan and said delay tactics were being used. However, senior lawyer Abdul Hafeez Pirzada appeared on behalf of the FIA DG. After hearing the case at length, the court told the attorney general to prepare the charge-sheet against the FIA chief, which was done within an hour.
After reading the charges against Iqbal, the chief justice said the law demanded stern action from the court against the culprits. The FIA chief said in his written reply to the charges that he did not want to contest or defend the charges against him and had left himself “at the mercy of the court”. He submitted, however, that he had not done anything intentionally to violate court orders.
“It is most respectfully submitted that it was not my intention or objective to undermine the honourable court or to subvert its orders and directions and I stand by my earlier statement submitted through my counsel Makhdoom Ali Khan. I humbly and respectfully seek clemency of the august court by way of extenuating circumstance. I am superannuating on July 14, 2011 and shall immediately proceed on leave,” he stated.
At the beginning of the hearing, the court asked Iqbal what action had been taken against Federal Commerce Minister Amin Fahim in light of the revelations made in a National Assembly standing committee by FIA officials, but he could not give a satisfactory reply. “We have been showing restraint, but the FIA chief has taken undue benefit of our patience,” the chief justice said.

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