Islamabad: Haj corruption case: co-accused given clean chit by court
ISLAMABAD: Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui of Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Friday quashed the FIR registered against S. M. Tahir, former joint secretary Establishment Division, who was co-accused in Haj corruption case.
The court observed that the petitioner was made a scapegoat for real culprits in the case who were either let free or exonerated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA).
During hearing of the petition, Tahir through his counsel Sanaullah Zahid told the court that FIA authorities registered a fake case against him.
The agency arrested the petitioner on charges of concealing facts regarding the age and pending criminal cases against Rao Shakeel (the main accused in Haj corruption case) from the competent authority during Shakeel’s appointment as director-general (DG) Haj in the Ministry of Religious Affairs.
The counsel contended before the court that secretary and additional secretary establishment both knew that Shakeel was not eligible for the post being over-age at the time of his appointment and was facing criminal proceedings but even then got the summary of his appointment approved from the prime minister.
The honorable judge observed that, in his view, registration of case against the petitioner was without any justification, adding that appointing authority was liable to be dealt in accordance with law. “But who dares in the FIA to do so,” the court questioned.
Zahid informed the court that the Special Selection Board (SSB) also took up the matter of Shakeel’s age with the then director-general (DG) National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Punjab.
He further pointed out that former secretary establishment Ismail Qureshi was nominated co–accused in the case for the same allegations but he was exonerated from the charges. He said Tahir neither had any criminal intention in the deal nor had it been proved by the investigation agency.
However, the FIR was registered against him by Special Investigation Unit (SIU) of the FIA.
When the court inquired investigation officer (IO) as to why the competent authority ignored all the facts presented before it during the appointment of Rao Shakeel, he failed to come up with a reply.
After the arguments, Justice Siddiqui declared the FIR against the petitioner illegal and annulled the case against him.