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SC alarm over 90-day detention of accused in NAB circumstances

by News Updater

ISLAMABAD: The controversial provision empowering the Nationwide Accountability Bureau (NAB) to detain an accused for 90 days got here on the radar of the Supreme Court docket when on Thursday Justice Umar Ata Bandial described the clause as merciless and an injustice.

“To detain an accused for 90 days on physical remand in every reference is cruel and an injustice,” regretted Justice Bandial who summoned NAB prosecutor common Syed Asghar Haider for help. The case can be taken up in January subsequent 12 months.

Justice Bandial was heading a three-judge SC bench that had taken up 25 appeals moved by the anti-graft watchdog and clubbed collectively in opposition to a Feb 15, 2017 judgement of the Peshawar Excessive Court docket.

The difficulty issues submitting of a number of references in opposition to accused by NAB. One of many appeals issues Arshad Khan, former director common of Fata Catastrophe Administration Authority, going through allegations of granting approval and forwarding pretend and bogus claims of 161 individuals, embezzling Rs59.6 million from the grants which had been to be distributed as compensation among the many affectees for the injury brought on to their homes on account of safety operations in Mohmand Company.

Justice Bandial describes accountability regulation provision as merciless and unjust

Part 24 (d) of the Nationwide Accountability Ordinance (NAO) empowers NAB to detain any accused in its custody for the aim of inquiry and investigation for a interval not exceeding 90 days, however the court docket involved can remand the accused to custody not exceeding 15 days at a time and for each subsequent remand the court docket should document causes in writing, the copy of which should be despatched to the excessive court docket involved.

Justice Bandial mentioned NAB mustn’t harass the accused and will train its authority whereas remaining inside the 4 corners of the legal guidelines as a substitute of perceived notion of abusing its authority, including that what wanted in opposition to a suspect in white-collar crimes was documentary proof.

“The bureau should use its authorities impartially,” Justice Bandial noticed and directed the events to furnish written replies on this regard.

Justice Mazahar Akbar Naqvi puzzled why NAB didn’t file a single reference in opposition to the accused after an intensive investigation as a substitute of a number of references. He highlighted that in felony circumstances solely bodily remand of 14 days could possibly be given however 90-day remand was supplied within the NAO solely to permit the bureau to finish its investigation in opposition to accused.

The court docket was of the view that as a substitute of implicating the accused in a lot of references, NAB ought to furnish supplementary references.

NAB prosecutor Nasir Mehmood Moghal argued that it was very troublesome to unearth proof in opposition to the accused of white-collar crime, including that the suspects by no means cooperated till arrested. He mentioned a cash laundering investigation in opposition to an vital politician in London had been occurring for the previous two to a few years.

The prosecutor contended that the trial court docket may cost any suspect going through a number of allegations in a single trial.

Part 17(d) of the NAO permits the accountability court docket to border a cost after which attempt the accused in a single trial for any variety of offences if the accused is going through multiple comparable offence dedicated in the course of the house of any variety of years. This isn’t the primary time as NAB was topic of significant observations by the Supreme Court docket at a lot of instances.

On July 20, Justice Maqbool Baqar, whereas granting bail to former railways minister and PML-N stalwart Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Suleman Rafiq, had noticed that although curbing loot, plunder and corruption was a noble trigger, the means, course of and mechanism employed must be inside the parameters of the regulation.

The arrest of an individual, the judgement had defined, was a grave matter however the capricious train of the ability to arrest had deleterious penalties and, subsequently, wanted to be exercised with care, warning and sensitivity. The arrest of an individual must be justified by referring to prima facie proof and ample actionable materials sufficiently connecting the individual with the offence. The facility of arrest shouldn’t be deployed as a instrument of oppression and harassment, the judgement had emphasised.

“While dealing with the cases pertaining to the liberty of a person, we should not lose sight of a fundamental principle of criminal jurisprudence that a person is presumed to be innocent until proven guilty,” the decision had mentioned.

Revealed in Daybreak, December 4th, 2020

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