Peshawar: Court frees man arrested by NAB
PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court (PHC) has granted bail to an accused arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (Frontier) in connection with the Utility Stores ghee scam. A two-member bench comprising Chief Justice Tariq Pervez Khan and Shahji Rehman Khan allowed a writ petition filed by the accused, Muhammad Iqbal, and directed him to furnish two sureties of Rs100,000 each. The NAB authorities had arrested a number of persons while investigating a scam of selling edible oil and ghee in open market at regular rate, which otherwise had to be provided to the general public at Utility Stores at subsidised rates. The accused was arrested in March 2008.
Petitioner’s counsel Barrister Adnan Saboor Rohaila contended that his client was a shopkeeper and the allegation against him was that he used to buy the cartons of edible oil from two employees of utility store. The two employees used to take away the cartons from the go downs and supplied the same to petitioner who would subsequently sell it at market rates to consumers.
Muhammad Iqbal sought his bail on the ground that he had deposited Rs100,000, which he got in the process of selling the ghee and had also tendered conditional pardon.
Barrister Rohaila argued that the petitioner even before filing of reference was tendered pardon by NAB director general, the competent authority, and other co–accused had already been released after paying meagre amounts and entering into a plea bargain. He submitted that the petitioner had paid Rs100,000 and recorded his statement before the magistrate in May 2008 which was legal requirement as per the NAB law.
He contended that keeping the petitioner behind bars would not serve any purpose as it amounted to depriving him his liberty, which was his right as the NAB authorities had kept him confined without any reason.
Rohaila referred to the judgments of superior court wherein identical matter bails had been granted. He argued that according to section 26 of NAB Ordinance, the NAB DG was competent to grant pardon and once the condition for pardon was fulfilled then the petitioner was entitled for grant of the bail.
It is pertinent to mention that the reference had been filed in the scam against two accused, who are employees of utility stores Islamabad, and both of them have now applied for plea bargain after filing of reference.
The deputy prosecutor general admitted that the petitioner had fulfilled all the formalities of pardon and had recorded his statement and had voluntarily deposited Rs100,000, which is the ill-gotten money as per version of the petitioner.