NAB restrained from arresting Chawla in corruption inquiry

Jamal Khurshid
Tuesday, Aug 29, 2023

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Monday restrained the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting former provincial minister for excise and taxation Mukesh Kumar Chawla in a corruption case.

The former Sindh minister had approached the high court against his possible arrest in a NAB inquiry pertaining to misuse of authority and corruption in a vehicle registration scam.

The petitioner’s counsel, Haider Waheed, submitted that NAB officials had raided the residence of the former excise minister although there had been no call-up notice issued to him in connection with any NAB inquiry.

He said that as per the NAB call-up notice, it was issued against the alleged front man of the petitioner, Hasan Ali Sharif, but not issued to the petitioner. He submitted that the names of the petitioner and his family members had been placed on a provisional national identification list (PNIL) which was an illegal list and had no force of law to restrict immediate travelling of someone abroad.

He submitted that other inquiries were being carried out by NAB without any intimation and NAB officials were bent on arresting the petitioner on one pretext or other by initiating multiple secret inquires against him without informing him about the existence of charges that were in complete violation of the NAB Ordinance.

He said the petitioner was willing to cooperate in any inquiry provided that the same was conducted within the four corners of the law.

The SHC was requested to declare the NAB inquiries as illegal and the placement of the name of the petitioner and his family members on the PNIL as without lawful authority. He also sought protection against the arrest of the petitioner in the guise of call up notices.

A division bench of the high court headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha after a preliminary hearing of the petition issued notices to NAB and others and called their comments on September 12. In the meantime, the SHC restrained NAB from arresting the petitioner in respect of any inquiry against officials of the excise department given that the petitioner extended his full cooperation to the NAB authorities.

The bench directed a NAB special prosecutor to submit a call up notice issued against the petitioner prior to August 26 when the house of the petitioner was raided and mention the state of inquiry pending against the petitioner in categorical terms. The bench directed the investigation officer of the case to appear along with relevant record of the case.