SC blocks inquiry against CJP's son
01 August, 2012
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has stopped the National Accountability Bureau's investigation team from further probing Dr Arsalan Iftikhar's case in view of the court's CCTV footage, in which it was shown that a member of the team, Faisal Memon, who is Islamabad SSP (Rural), was walking alongside business tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and seems to be giving him a 'protocol' during his first appearance before the court on June 12.
The NAB team was supposed to travel to London to collect evidence in the case when it was stopped. The court sought explanation from the interior secretary and Faisal Memon, and directed them to submit their replies in the matter on August 2. The court observed that if the petitioner's allegations proved that Memon had a close relationship with Malik Riaz, then the entire investigation could be declared void. The court also rejected NAB's plea to constitute a larger bench for this case.
A two-member bench of Justice Jawwad S Khawaja and Justice Khilji Arif Hussain is hearing a review petition filed by counsel for Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of the SC chief justice, against the court's June 14 order over an alleged business deal between Malik Riaz and him in an attempt to influence judicial process.
Arsalan's counsel, Sardar Ishaq, submitted an application to summon the court's video camera record of June 12 as one of the NAB team member, Faisal Memon, was seen close to Malik Riaz when he was entering the Supreme Court's premises. He alleged that Faisal Memon was a crony of Malik Riaz, therefore, the inquiry should be stopped.
The court, accepting the counsel's plea, asked its office to make arrangements for telecasting the footage, as Faisal was not officially deputed for this purpose. After watching the video footage, the court passed a stay order regarding the joint investigation team.
Meanwhile, NAB Prosecutor General (PG) KK Agha and Malik Riaz's counsel Zahid Bukhari, opposing the court's stay order, asked the bench how the petitioner was aware about the existence of this CCTV footage.
During the hearing, Zahid Bukhari again accused the SC Registrar's Office of facilitating and giving undue favours to the petitioner. He questioned how this CCTV footage was presented in the courtroom. The counsel said halting the inquiry would jeopardise his client's case. But the court, rejecting all objections, said that prima facie it was a very strong footage.
Earlier, the NAB PG submitted an application for the constitution of a larger bench in this case. He also said it was not a forum to hear allegations of the petitioner through a review petition. "This is an unusual way the court is proceeding in this matter," KK Agha added. The court, however, rejected NAB's plea for the constitution of a larger bench.
Sardar Ishaq, counsel for Dr Arsalan, stated that Attorney General of Pakistan Irfan Qadir had a personal grudge against Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, as he had authored the July 31, 2009 judgement, in which Qadir was removed as judge of the Lahore High Court. He said the conduct of the AG before the bench was not good.
"After the court's June 14 judgement, the AG has found a golden opportunity to take revenge from the petitioner's family," the counsel added.
He further said the NAB chairman blindly followed the order of the AG regarding the formation of the joint team as there was no example of NAB constituting this kind of JIT in any case. After hearing the case, the court adjourned the hearing until August 2.