PESHAWAR: The Peshawar High Court on Friday set aside arrest warrants for one serving and two former police officers issued by the National Accountability Bureau chairman in a high-profile case of alleged embezzlement in weapons procurement for Khyber Pakhtunkhwa police.
The bench of Justice Lal Jan Khattak and Justice Abdul Shakoor accepted petitions filed by the three officers, including DIG of police Sajid Khan, a former commandant of Frontier Constabulary Abdul Majeed Marwat and an ex-AIG Abdul Latif Gandapur, with the direction to appear before the concerned accountability court in the trial and submit their surety bonds there.
A former IGP of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, Malik Naveed Khan, and a budget officer of police, Jawed Khan, are the prime accused in the case and were indicted on July 7, 2015, by the accountability court.
The NAB charged the prime accused of receiving kickbacks to the tune of Rs2.03 billion while awarding lucrative contracts of purchasing weapons to contractor Arshad Majeed, who later turned approver. They had pleaded not guilty and have been facing trial.
Directs petitioners to submit surety bonds to accountability court
The present three petitioners and three other police officials were accused by the NAB of facilitating the prime accused.
Advocates Anwarul Haq and Khalid Mehmood appeared for the petitioners and contended that initially the petitioners were kept in ‘un-arrested’ category of accused persons in the instant case, and due to same reasons they were not summoned by the accountability court for framing of charge. They added that they could not be arrested at such a belated stage.
Mr Haq contended that once trial was started by the accountability court the NAB chairman had no authority to issue arrest warrants for an accused person.
He stated that the superior courts had already declared that the trial court had the powers to summon any accused person mentioned in the reference.
He pointed out that in one of the judgments the apex court declared that the NAB chairman had no powers to arrest an accused after start of trial and the said powers could only be exercised by the trial court keeping in view the evidence on record.
He pointed out that in 2015 call-up notices were issued to the petitioners by NAB, which were challenged before the high court. He added that recently the high court had on Nov 13 dismissed those petitions.
He stated that after rejection of those petitions the NAB chairman had issued arrest warrants for his client Sajid Khan and two other petitioners, which was an illegal act.
He argued that the trial court had already examined several witnesses in the case. He stated that NAB had completed investigation in the case and there was now no reason for the arrest of the petitioners.
The bench observed that it would be appropriate that the petitioners should appear before the trial court and submit surety bonds there to the satisfaction of the trial judge.
Published in Dawn, November 23rd, 2019