Officials divided over NAB’s role in Arsalan case
ISLAMABAD, June 12: It is not clear whether the case involving real estate magnate Malik Riaz and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, falls within the purview of the National Accountability Bureau.
There is a difference of opinion on the matter between Attorney General Irfan Qadir, who has served in NAB as prosecutor general for more than three years, and NAB officials.
The NAB spokesman, Zafar Iqbal, is of the view that the case does not fall within the purview of the bureau because it is of a private nature. “NAB always deals with cases relating to the public at large or with holders of public offices,” he told Dawn.
“I think this case should be filed with the relevant police officials or the Federal Investigation Agency for investigation.”
Dr Ayesha Siddiqa, the chief of NAB’s media wing, said that NAB dealt with cases in which the public was affected. She, however, said: “This
is a legal matter and we have to check with our legal team whether the case is fit for NAB or not.”
Attorney General Qadir told the Supreme Court on Tuesday that the case came under the ambit of NAB under section 18 (4) of the NAB Ordinance. He said NAB could start an inquiry on the case under section (9) of NAB Ordinance, the law which dealt with “income beyond means”.
The attorney general said that under the NAB Ordinance the accused person could avoid his arrest if he paid the entire amount of corruption money to NAB.
Under the NAB law an accused person keeps the right to pay the money before the start of court proceedings against him under NAB’s voluntary return provision.
The accused person can also go for a plea bargain with the NAB on the order of accountability courts and can pay a certain amount which is fixed by the court. But under this provision(s) he is also declared guilty.
It has been alleged that some top NAB officials were appointed because of enormous influence of Malik Riaz and they were reluctant to proceed against him.