IHC dismisses Dar’s plea challenging charge sheet against him

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ISLAMABAD, Oct 3 (APP): The Islamabad High Court (IHC)
dismissed plea challenging charge sheet framed by the
Accountability Court in an interim reference against Federal
Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar.
Justice Athir Minnallah and Justice Miangul Hassan
Aurengzeb dismissed plea after hearing preliminary arguments
placed by Khawaja Haris counsel for the petitioner.
Before dismissing the petitions, however the bench clarified
that the petitioner had right to approach the monitoring judge of
the apex court if he had objections over procedure of the court
concerned.
In the petition Khawaja Haris stated that in purported
compliance to the judgment dated July 21, 2017 passed by the Supreme
Court in Panama papers case, an interim reference against Finance
Minister was pending before the respondent, Accountability Court.
He said that Ishaq Dar duly appeared before Accountability
Court on September 25, 2017 when the copy of reference along
with interim investigation report and documents comprising
23 volumes were supplied to the petitioner, whereafter matter
was adjourned for September 27, 2017 for framing of charge.
The Petitioner filed, inter alia, an application
before the accountability court for postponing the framing of charge
on the ground that the said charge should only be framed not
earlier than seven days of supply of the documents including
investigation report.
After hearing the arguments of the parties upon the aforesaid
application of the Petitioner, the Accountability Court proceeded to
dismiss the application vide order dated September 27, 2017.
Khawaja pleaded that the order dated September 27, 2017 of
Accountability Court was illegal and unlawful, inter alia.
The counsel took strong grounds and said that as per provision of
Section 265 (C) Cr.P.C,law mandated that a charge sheet could not be
framed against the accused before the seven days after supply of the documents.
However, the NAB while rejecting the application had totally
misconstrued the provision of section 265 (C) Cr.P.0 and the order
was manifestly illegal and without lawful authority, he added.
That the impugned order had been passed in breach of Article 4 a
the Constitution of Islamic Republic of Pakistan, 1973 which,
inter alia, mandate that every citizen should be dealt in
accordance with the law, he added.
That passing of impugned order in breach of mandatory provision
of law has resulted in great prejudice to the Petitioner inasmuch
as that the Petitioner did not have fair opportunity of perusal
of the entire material comprising 23 volumes on the basis of
which the charge was to be framed, he alleged.
That as matter of fact, the framing of charge
without observing mandatory provision of law was in breach of
principle of fair trial guaranteed by Constitution of Pakistan.
The Petitioner’s right to fair trial was further compromised by
the fact that copy of charge sheet had yet not been provided
to Petitioner while the Reference is fixed for the recording of
the evidence of the prosecution on October 4, 2017,he added.
As such the Petitioner was likely to be seriously prejudice
firstly on account that he had been deprived of right of
raising any objection to framing of charge and secondly on
account that statement of prosecution witness were going to
be recorded without the Petitioner having been duly apprises of the
contents of the charge to which he had to answer and in the light
of which he has to cross-examine the prosecution witnesses.
Even otherwise the impugned order was illegal void without
lawful authority hence the same was liable to be set-aside, Haris maintained.
He prayed to the IHC that the instant writ petition be accepted
and the impugned order dated September 27, 2017 be set aside and the
Petitioner may be given adequate opportunity to raise objection
to the farming of charge and its contents before calling and
recording of the prosecution witnesses.
Further prayed that till the final adjudication of the
instant petition, the proceedings before the accountability court
may very kindly be stayed.
Subsequently after hearing the arguments at length, the bench
dismissed petition and remarked that legally NAB could not be barred
from proceedings against corruption references.