‘Rules violated for purchase of 75 locomotives’


The Pakistan Railways chairman on Thursday told a two-member Supreme Court bench that rules and regulations were violated in the purchase of 75 locomotives, causing huge losses to the national exchequer. The bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry and Justice Mian Shakirullah Jan was hearing a suo motu case about the non-payment of salaries and pension to the employees and workers of Pakistan Railways.
In compliance with the court’s earlier orders, Railways Chairman Javed Ahmad submitted in court a report containing a plan for the rehabilitation of Pakistan Railways. The report stated that Rs 28 billion were required for rehabilitation of railways. The chief justice noted that the amount suggested by railways top brass for rehabilitation was massive, and a new railways’ department could be established from that amount.
During the hearing, the court allowed former railways minister Sheikh Rasheed Ahmed to become party to the case. Rasheed told the court that rules and regulations were relaxed on the intervention of a top personality of the country for purchase of 75 locomotives. To a court query, the railways chairman admitted that the rules and regulations were violated.
Rasheed contended that big shots were involved in the scam involving sale of railways scrap on throwaway prices, thus their cases were not being sent to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). The chief justice remarked that no body would be allowed to sell national institutions. He said the cases of PR’s corrupt officials would be sent to NAB. He said the court had seen the performance of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and now it was the turn of the newly-appointed NAB chairman to prove his mettle. Appearing on notice, Attorney General Maulvi Anwarul Haq told the court that the Director General Audit had pointed out Rs 500 million losses to the national exchequer due to sale of railways scrap on throwaway prices. The chief justice noted that railways engines would not have gone out of order in a day and inquired whether forensic audit of railways was conducted. The railways chairman, however, stated that forensic audit was not conducted. The chief justice asked the chairman whether the government too had no authority to get forensic audit conducted. To a query, the railways chairman stated that a new rail engine cost Rs 300 million. He said tenders for purchase of new railways engines were being opened on November 24. The court directed the attorney general to take complete information about PR’s corrupt officials involved in selling out scrap on cheap rates and then send their cases to NAB. The court also directed the railways chairman to take effective measures for taking back valuable property of PR from land mafia in Karachi, besides pointing out to the court if the PR land was confiscated by the land mafia in other parts of the country as well. The proceedings were adjourned until November 23.