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Special team to probe graft charges against Pak CJ's son

June 30, 2012 20:36 IST

Pakistan's anti-corruption agency has formed a Special Investigating Team to probe allegations that Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's son was paid over Rs 342 million by a real estate tycoon to influence cases in the apex court.

National Accountability Bureau Chairman Fasih Bukhari told a news conference on Saturday that the investigating team, comprising officials of the Federal Investigation Agency and police, will be headed by a NAB official.

The Supreme Court took suo motu notice of the allegations against Arsalan Iftikhar, the Chief Justice's son, and directed the Attorney General to act against both Iftikhar and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain.

The Attorney General had asked the NAB to probe allegations that Hussain paid millions of rupees to Arsalan and funded his private visits to London and Monte Carlo.

However, Arsalan has expressed serious reservations about the conduct of the Attorney General and his distrust in the NAB in a letter written to Bukhari.

Bukhari, a former naval chief, said he had received Arsalan's letter. He said the letter was threatening and could affect the investigation.

"The letter is threatening, it uses threatening language," he said. The letter also amounted to contempt of court, he pointed out.

The probe against Arsalan and Hussain will be conducted according to the law and the investigating team will also visit London, Bukhari said.

The NAB chief said corruption is a key issue in Pakistan, where the society is as corrupt as the legal system. The public exchequer loses about Rs 6 billion to Rs 8 billion due to corruption every day and the NAB has recovered Rs 235 billion till date, he said.

Bukhari further said that the NAB is reviewing complaints filed by Interior Ministry chief Rehman Malik against Pakistan Muslim League-N leaders Nawaz Sharif and Shahbaz Sharif.

He said that as a general election is scheduled for early next year, political cases will not be reopened against anyone, including the Sharif brothers, for the time being.

Responding to a question about a probe by the NAB into corruption in rental or private power projects, Bukhari said the agency had questioned Raja Pervez Ashraf for three hours before he was recently elected the prime minister.

The apex court recently directed the NAB to conduct a probe against several persons, including Ashraf, who were involved in approving rental power projects. Ashraf had earlier served as the power minister.

Rezaul H Laskar In Islamabad
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