Former PSM chief acquitted in corruption case
By Ishaq Tanoli
KARACHI: An accountability court acquitted on Friday a former chairman of the Pakistan Steel Mills in a corruption reference.
The reference (01/2004) filed against ex-PSM chairman Usman Farooqui and others was withdrawn on April 1, 2008 under the National Reconciliation Ordinance. But it was reopened in the light of a Supreme Court verdict against the NRO handed down on Dec 16, 2009.
Mr Farooqui was accused of committing corruption and causing a loss of Rs17 million to the national exchequer during the purchase of ferrous manganese contract in 1995.Through his counsel Raza Hashmi, he had filed an acquittal application under Section 265-K (power of court to acquit accused at any stage) of the criminal procedure code.
Justice Mohammad Riaz Rajput of the Accountability Court-IV, who conducted the trial, allowed the acquittal plea after hearing arguments from both sides.
The court observed that the prosecution failed to produce any convincing evidence against the accused in order to prove its case. According to the judgment, the court was of the considered opinion that there was no probability of conviction of accused in the subject reference.
Earlier, the applicant’s counsel argued that his client was falsely implicated in the case as the alleged offence was committed in September 1995 while Mr Farooqui assumed the charge of PSM chairman in November 1995.
He maintained that the co-accused in the case Khawaja Qadeer, Khawaja Nazir of Faheem & brothers company and Imtiaz Rasool Askari, the then in charge of PSM marketing, have already been acquitted for want of evidence. He further said that none of the witnesses deposed against the applicant and pleaded for his acquittal.
The deputy prosecutor-general of the National Accountability Bureau did not oppose the acquittal plea.
The case was initially tried in the special anti-corruption court. However, it was transferred to the accountability court in 2004 on an application filed by the National Accountability Bureau under Section 16-A (a) of NAB Ordinance.