Islamabad: Fraud case; 3 officers face legal action
ISLAMABAD, Jan 24: The Supreme Court on Tuesday directed the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to take legal action against three senior government officers for their alleged role in letting off the hook former PTV adviser Khurram Rasool who is wanted in a fraud case.
The three officers are: Khushnood Lashari, the principal secretary to the prime minister, and former directors general of FIA Waseem Ahmed and Malik Iqbal.
Headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry, the bench directed the FIA to also record the statement of the petitioners, Karachi-based businessmen Pervez Hussain and others.
According to the petition moved in December 2011, Mr Rasool working as prime minister’s media coordinator allegedly deceitfully minted over Rs430 million from the businessmen in 2009, promising that he would manage a liquid petroleum gas (LPG) quota and a lincence to export oil for the Nato forces in Afghanistan for their Sahara Gas (Pvt) Limited and Pak Delta Enterprises.
The court expressed dismay over the absence of FIA director general Tehseen Anwar Shah in the court who left for London to attend a certain official job, as he was required to arrest and present Mr Rasool before the court on Tuesday.
Petitioner’s counsel Rasheed A. Razvi read out a report prepared by intelligence agencies on the basis of which former Principal Secretary Nargis Sethi had ordered registration of a case against Mr Rasool in December 2010. However, the case was registered after a delay of three months. The report did not rule out the possibility of senior government and bank officers’ involvement in the scam.
At the last hearing, the counsel had also accused Mr Rasool of forging signatures of the secretary petroleum with the help of his brother Shahid Mehmood and Ghulam Ghous on various agreements.
The accused also allegedly got the support of officials of a bank in Islamabad, the counsel said, adding the accounts were opened in the name of fake partnership without observing the State Bank instructions.
When the matter was brought to his notice, the prime minister ordered his principal secretary to write to the interior secretary for initiation of an inquiry.
The inquiry found Mr Rasool guilty and an FIR was registered against him, his brother Shahid Mehmood and other accomplices and officials of the bank.
The counsel, however, regretted that the FIA neither arrested any accused mentioned in the FIR nor conducted an investigation which forced the petitioner to file a petition with the Islamabad High Court against the FIA chief. The whereabouts of Mr Rasool is still not known, the counsel said.
In July 2011, the high court ordered the FIA to proceed with the matter strictly in accordance with the law but so far no action has been taken, the counsel regretted.