Karachi trial court to go by own in NICL scam

The Supreme Court on Wednesday directed a trial court in Karachi to proceed against former federal commerce minister Makhdoom Amin Fahim in NICL land scam as per law and without being influenced by the hearings at the apex court.

Disposing of the proceedings in National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) case regarding land scam in Karachi, a three-judge bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry directed Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) director general to consider taking action against the investigators responsible for delaying the investigations.

FIA has submitted charge sheet against Amin Fahim and former commerce secretary Salman Ghani for appointing Muhammad Ayaz Khan Niazi as NICL chairman, the man who purchased 10 acre land in Korangi at exorbitant price, FIA Director (Legal) Azam Khan told the bench.

The official said almost all money of NICL had been recovered in Karachi episode of the scam as the land was purchased at the cost of Rs900 million whereas the market price was Rs482 million while Rs41 million was credited to the account of Amin Fahim.

Reading from a report submitted by FIA DG, the law officer said in a meeting of the agency’s high ups with commerce secretary it had been decided to pursue the cases in trial courts both by FIA and NICL, besides getting the bails of different accused cancelled from the high courts.

When informed that Mohsin Habib Warraich, who allegedly brokered for purchase of costly land in Lahore for NICL, has obtained pre-arrest interim bail in absentia from Islamabad High Court, the CJP expressed surprise over the grant of bail when the accused was not before the court. The FIA law officer said the IHC judge while granting the bail had cited two cases where SC had given bail in absentia and also the recent example of Pervez Musharraf’s bail from the Sindh High Court.

During the proceedings the bench expressed annoyance over the delay by FIA in concluding its investigation of land scam in Karachi despite that investigator Moazm Jah had already unearthed the facts about corruption. The CJP asked the FIA DG to consider appropriate departmental action against Sindh FIA officials for delaying the investigations against Amin Fahim and others.

Before adjourning the case for two weeks, the bench directed FIA law officer Azam Khan to submit report containing comparative studies about the investigations conducted first by Moazm Jah and later by FIA Sindh Director Abdul Malik in Karachi NICL case. A similar comparison is also to be drawn for Lahore part of the scam between investigations done by FIA investigators Zaffar Qureshi and Waqar Haider, who followed Qureshi.