Former Ogra chief escaped to Nepal, SC informed
ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court asked the National Accountability Bureau on Monday what action it had taken against those who were behind the escape of former chairman of the Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority Tauqir Sadiq from the country.
NAB and police officials expressed their helplessness in arresting the former Ogra chief by the Dec 31 deadline given by the court and informed a two-judge bench hearing the case that he had escaped to Nepal.
At the last hearing three days ago, Inspector General of Punjab Chaudhry Habibur Rehman informed the court that the accused had escaped to Dubai.
The court directed Additional IG of Punjab Malik Khuda Baksh to submit by Wednesday a report highlighting the whereabouts of the accused, along with airport camera and finger print records.
The Federal Investigation Agency claimed that Sadiq could not escape abroad because his name was on the exit control list (ECL).
“If he has flown to another country what action the NAB has taken against those involved in his escape,” asked Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja, a member of the bench.
He asked the NAB and police officials how Tauqir Sadiq had managed to escape abroad if his name was on the ECL and in the presence of close-circuit cameras at airports.
Tauqir Sadiq and three other officials of Ogra – Mansoor Ali Muzaffar, Mir Kamal Frid Bijarani Muree and Jawad Jamil – are accused of misusing authority, embezzling funds and causing Rs82 billion losses to the national exchequer by converting operating income (regular income) into non-operating income in violation of an agreement signed with the Asian Development Bank and the World Bank, relocating several CNG stations, making illegal appointments, etc.
FIA official Azam Khan informed the court that wife and daughter of Tauqir Sadiq had also left for Kathmandu in a PIA flight PK-268 on Dec 10. He said Sadiq’s name was put on the ECL on January 25 and he returned to the country on March 27. “FIA record shows that he has not left the country after that,” he added.
The Punjab IG said the former Ogra chief might have escaped abroad on a fake passport and a police team had been sent to Kathmandu for his arrest.
Justice Khawaja said it meant that fake passports were also being made in the country.
Justice Khilji Arif Hussain said no-one involved in the escape of Sadiq should be spared. “Everyone should be given equal treatment even if a constable, IG, adviser or minister is involved in the escape,” he said.
Tauqir Sadiq is said to be a close relative of PPP’s Secretary General Jehangir Badar. Earlier, the apex court had given a deadline of Oct 5 for the arrest of Sadiq, but NAB failed to lay its hands on the accused.
On Nov 25 last year, the court had declared the appointment of Tauqir Sadiq as Ogra chairman illegal and ordered NAB to investigate corruption cases against him and submit its findings within 45 days. The court had observed that five people were involved in the illegal appointment of Sadiq, including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf.
According to media reports, the former Ogra chief recently wrote a letter to the cabinet committee investigating NAB’s claims that the country was losing billions of rupees everyday because of corruption. He claimed that he too was made a victim of “such baseless allegations where NAB made claims that were hard to substantiate”.