Court indicts NBP chief, two others in reference against Dar

Saeed Ahmed, Mansoor Raza, Naeem Mehmood plead not guilty

ISLAMABAD: An accountability in Islamabad on Thursday indicted co-accused named in the supplementary corruption reference against former finance minister Ishaq Dar.

The indictment came after being delayed for five times in the previous hearings.

On February 26, the anti-graft watchdog filed a supplementary reference against Ishaq Dar in the assets case with regard to alleged accumulation of assets beyond his known sources of income.

Three suspects, including National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) President Saeed Ahmed, Mansoor Raza and Naeem Mehmood, were nominated in the reference. All three are accused of aiding Dar in opening fictitious bank accounts and transferring money abroad.

During Thursday’s hearing, Judge Mohammad Bashir read out the charges, to which the co-accused pleaded not guilty. All three suspects were present in court.

Ahmed informed the court that he has challenged his indictment in the Supreme Court. However, the judge observed that the proceedings will continue until the apex court rules otherwise.

On Wednesday, Ahmed had filed an appeal in the apex court pleading to declare the Islamabad High Court (IHC) judgment null and void in which he was declared guilty as co-accused in the supplementary reference against Ishaq Dar.

Moreover, during the proceedings, Rizvi submitted an unconditional apology in court over his counsel’s altercation with the judge at the last hearing. He informed the court that Javed Akbar Shah is no longer his legal representative.

The court then adjourned the hearing until April 11, when the prosecution has been directed to present its witnesses.

At the last hearing, the indictment of the accused in was delayed after rumpus by the Islamabad High Court Bar Association (IHCBA) Javed Akbar Shah, who represented co-accused Mansoor Raza/

Javed Akbar Shah had impolitely asked for the adjournment of the case.

The judge had dismissed the plea for the adjournment.

An agitated Shah then reportedly took offence at the judge referring to him as brother, “I am not your brother, give me a reason why the indictment is necessary?”

When Judge Bashir had warned that the lawyer was being disrespectful to the bench, Shah had responded with: “What are you going to? Will you shoot me or send me to jail?”

Shah had then left the court along with his client without court permission after submitting his power of attorney.

Afterwards, the judge had directed a court official to call out Raza and issued non-bailable warrants for his arrest upon his failure to appear.

The accountability judge had also served a show-cause notice to the IHCBA president for misbehaving with him.

Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Dar is accused of possessing assets disproportionate to his declared sources of income. A reference against him was filed by the NAB in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 verdict in the Panama Papers case.

In its reference against the former finance minister, NAB alleged that “the accused has acquired assets and pecuniary interests/resources in his own name and/or in the name of his dependents of an approximate amount of Rs831.678 million (approx)”.

The reference alleged that the assets were “disproportionate to his known sources of income for which he could not reasonably account for”.

The court had declared him a proclaimed offender over his perpetual absence from the trial proceedings and attached his movable and immovable properties.

In November 2017, the government withdrew the portfolio of finance minister of Dar.