BoP scam probe Row between NAB, Punjab police resolved
By Syed Irfan Raza
ISLAMABAD: A row between National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and Punjab police over the investigation into a Rs9 billion scam in Bank of Punjab (BoP) has been resolved after the head of the police probe team held a meeting with bureau’s chief and agreed that the investigation report will first be presented before the NAB instead of Supreme Court, sources told Dawn on Sunday.
The two organisations have buried their differences that had cropped up after the Punjab police announced that it would directly submit the investigation report to the apex court. Now the NAB would present the report before the court.
Following earlier announcement of the police investigation team headed by the Additional Inspector General of Police, there was a perception that the BoP case had gone out of NAB’s hand.
The police investigation team was constituted on the directives of the apex court but its chief (additional IG) was nominated by NAB’s Chairman Justice (retd) Syed Deedar Hussain Shah.
The sources said the AIG of Punjab police briefed the NAB chairman a couple of days ago about the progress in the investigation. The briefing which was held at the Chamba House on the arrival of NAB’s chairman was a kind of ‘mutual appreciation’ session.
Director General of Punjab NAB Justice (retd) Rana Zahid Mahmood and the director of Financial Crimes Investigation Wing of the NAB also attended the briefing.
It has been learnt that Aftab Sultan appreciated the work done by the Punjab NAB in the BoP scam case and anticipated to complete the investigation within seven weeks. On the occasion, the NAB chairman also showed his satisfaction on the current working of the team over three years old scam and directed NAB Punjab to extend full cooperation, technical and professional support to the investigation team headed by the AIG.
Meanwhile, the investigation team of NAB working on a BoP scam demanded eight more weeks to complete investigation even after keeping Hamish Khan for 90 days in physical custody and two months of judicial remand. The alleged fraud was unearthed in 2007.
The NAB had submitted an interim reference in 2008 and had informed the court that 500-page documentary evidence would be furnished but NAB had allegedly not submitted that evidence yet even after two years.
It has been learnt that Aftab Sultan was working independently as he was directly appointed by the apex court to investigate the case, but it is not possible for Aftab Sultan to investigate without the coordination of the NAB as all the preliminary investigations regarding the case were made by the bureau.
During the meeting with the NAB chairman, the AIG had assured that he would not submit the report before the Supreme Court but to the NAB chairman.
The report is believed to be quite helpful for the court in deciding the case as until or unless a report is not being submitted in the court, allegations levelled by Hamish’s counsel have no legal value.
According to the case details, on Sept 27, 2007, the NAB Punjab had filed a reference in an accountability court against 12 people, including six officials of Bank of Punjab (BoP), for their alleged involvement in a fraud of Rs9 billion.
HAMESH KHAN: Sources revealed that the principal accused, Hamesh Khan, former chief of BoP, was in judicial custody in jail where he was enjoying all facilities.
As Hamesh Khan was handed over to the NAB by the United States with an assurance that he would not be tortured in the custody, some US officials pay frequent visits to him in jail to know that what treatment he has been receiving behind the bars.