SC questions Moonis’s acquittal without regular trial


The Supreme Court on Monday questioned Moonis Elahi’s acquittal in the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam case without a regular trial and his visit abroad despite being on the Exit Control List.
The court also sought the attorney general’s opinion on transferring the investigation of the case from the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). A three-member special SC bench of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Justice Tariq Parvez and Justice Amir Hani Muslim was hearing the mega scam case involving over Rs 5 billion. During the hearing, Attorney General Moulvi Anwarul Haq could not give a satisfactory reply when the court asked him about the government’s next step after the main accused in the NICL scam, Moonis Elahi, was acquitted on October 21 by Lahore District and Sessions Judge Mujahid Mustaqim. The court then asked the AG to submit his opinion by today (Tuesday) for transferring the probe from the FIA to NAB. It also directed the AG to submit the details by today (Tuesday) about Moonis’ visit abroad.
During the hearing, former FIA additional director general Zafar Qureshi, who was the chief investigator of NICL scam, told the court that Rs 420 million had yet to be recovered from Moonis and Mohsin Warraich. He said Moonis’ name was on the ECL, but still he was allowed to go abroad. The chief justice inquired whether an accused could be acquitted without a regular trial. Qureshi contended that he was pressurised for releasing Habib Warraich. However, he said he was committed to rendering duties assigned to him by the SC. Justice Muslim asked why the government had not filed an appeal against Moonis’ acquittal.
Babar Awan, counsel for Moonis, told the court that wrong statements had been submitted before the court, adding that concrete evidence had been given to district and sessions court in the case. The court also took up the matter pertaining to the allegations levelled by Qureshi against the Chaudhry brothers. Wasim Sajjad, counsel for the Chaudhry brothers, termed the allegations biased, saying Qureshi had not yet filed his reply over the plea of his clients. He said Qureshi had not told the court how he was threatened, despite the fact that the Chaudhry brothers had already denied the allegations. “I need to know who is blaming my client,” said Sajjad to which Qureshi said “a reliable source” had informed him about it and he was willing to tell the court about the person at some other time. “Nothing is confidential in front of the court and you can tell us in the chamber,” the chief justice told Qureshi. The court later adjourned proceedings until today (Tuesday).