SC rejects NAB apology over suspect’s arrest

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The Supreme Court on Wednesday rejected an apology tendered by the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecutor general and director general over arresting a suspect from the court’s premises.

The court also extended the bail of the suspect, the owner of a private firm Saifur Rehman, for two weeks against a Rs2 million surety bond.

On Monday, the anti-graft watchdog’s officials arrested Saif from the SC premises.

The accused came to the SC seeking pre-arrest bail. When he reached the top court’s parking, the NAB officials apprehended him.

A three-judge SC bench, headed by acting Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard the case and ordered disciplinary action against the officials involved in the incident.

During the course of proceedings, the bench also sought a written reply from the NAB officers on arresting a suspect from court premises.

“Who will come to the court when people are arrested at its doorstep?”  Justice Bandial noted.
He added that the respect of the court was also necessary for the rule of law. “The court’s doors are open for all whether they are guilty or not.”

NAB Prosecutor General Asghar Haider told the court that the NAB Rawalpindi DG and NAB HR DG were present in the court and had also submitted a report on recruitment and training of employees.
Justice Bandial noted that every court should be respected. “What is the procedure for arresting the accused?” he observed.

The NAB prosecutor general told the court that the anti-graft body apologised for the incident.

NAB Rawalpindi DG Irfan Naeem Mangi appeared before the court. Justice Bandial told him that you were an engineer and a well-known name.

Mangi told the court that he had been affiliated with NAB for over 16 years and such a mistake had never happened before.

The acting CJP told him that the suspect faced charges of white collar crime, which included only money and he was not going to harm anyone.

The NAB DG said that there was a case of more than Rs116 billion against the suspect.

He added that it was believed that Saif had three or four wives and the one living in Malaysia was the real mastermind.

“We had information that the suspect would try to escape the country.”

The acting CJP noted that this should not have been done in any court and that was why the apology was not being accepted.

“We will give an order on NAB officials’ conduct.”

The NAB DG told the court that the chairman of the anti-graft body had already taken action over the matter.

The court directed NAB to investigate the case on solid evidence and also told Saif to extend full cooperation to the anti-graft body.

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