Dar’s assets: NBP chief asks court to reject reference to his extent

ISLAMABAD: Responding to a supplementary reference of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against former finance minister Ishaq Dar, National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed has asked the court to ‘reject’ the reference to his extent and frame charges only when there are grounds for a trial.
While hearing the NBP president’s application filed under section 265-D of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC), Accountability Court Judge Muhmmad Bashir issued notice to NAB with directions to argue over the application on March 13 [today].
In the application, Ahmed requested the court to reject the supplementary reference to his extent in view of the section 265-D of CrPC. He also demanded that NAB – working with the slogan ‘say no to corruption’ – be subjected to pay him compensation for falsely accusing him of graft.
During the course of investigation, the reference claimed, it was revealed that Ahmed was one of the directors of Hajveri Modaraba Management Company, and 7,000 shares in Hajveri Holding (Pvt) Ltd were also transferred in his favour by the wife of the principal accused, Ishaq Dar.
The reference said seven bank accounts were opened in the name of the NBP president which, according to investigation conducted so far, were used for the benefit of Dar and his companies.
NAB alleged that Ahmed had intentionally allowed Dar to open/operate/use bank accounts in his name to protect his ill-gotten money and penal liability by providing a cover to his criminal act whereby he aided, assisted and abetted the principal accused in commission of offences.
In the application, the NBP president’s counsel said documents of seven bank accounts opening were sent to forensic examination and the report revealed that the signatures of the applicant did not tally.
Prima facie, he said, the reference was filed on surmises and conjectures of illegal omission which, according to the understanding of NAB, amounts to aiding and abetting the offence. “This allegation of favour is also baseless,” he added.
In addition, he said, ingredients of section 9(a)(iv)(v) & (xii) punishable under section 10 of the NAB Ordinance and schedule are not even alleged or available in the entire reference.
“Ahmed didn’t return to Pakistan after having lived a very comfortable life abroad for more than 40 years thus it is absurd that he was awarded for fake accounts in his name,” he said.
Under 265-D of CrPC, the court may frame the charge if after presuming the supplementary reference, the complaint, other documents and statement filed by prosecution, the court is of opinion that there are grounds for proceeding with the trial of the accused.
He said the charge can be framed only on report given in the supplementary documents but there must be documents showing commission of offence to be seen which include recovery memo, side plan and statements of witnesses.
The counsel said if the supplementary reference and annexed documents are taken as gospel truth, no offence is made. “Thus it is a fit case where charge cannot be framed and Saeed is entitled for discharge and award of compensation for the agony, monitory loss and loss of reputation he suffered,” he added.
NAB had filed supplementary reference against Saeed, Naeem Mahmood [one of Dar’s employees since 1991], Mansoor Raza Rizvi, and Ishaq Dar for a 91-time increase in the former finance minister’s assets.
The court, which has already declared Dar a proclaimed offender over his failure to appear before the court, is recording evidence in his absence.
On Sept 27, 2017, the court indicted Dar for amassing assets beyond his known sources of income and directed the prosecution to produce witnesses and evidence for establishing its case.
Dar had pleaded not guilty and is currently facing the NAB reference filed against him in line with the Supreme Court’s July 28, 2017 judgment in the Panamagate case.