LHC seeks Fasih’s written reply in contempt case


Lahore High Court (LHC) Rawalpindi bench on Thursday directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Chairman Admiral (R) Fasih Bokhari to submit a written reply to the court until March 18 on a contempt of court petition filed against him by Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) of Punjab in a 1401-kanal land fraud case.

The LHC division bench comprising Justice Mazahar Ali Akbar Naqvi and Justice Ibadur Rehman Lodhi on February 18 issued a show cause notice to Admiral Bokhari to explain as to why the contempt of court proceeding shall not be initiated against him under sub-section 3 of section 204 of Contempt of Court Act for flouting the court orders.
On Thursday, Admiral Bokhari appeared before the court. NAB Prosecutor General KK Agha requested the court to grant time to the NAB chief for submission of reply.

The court initially decided to fix the case after a short date but the NAB PG said that since he was going abroad and could not appear, the matter may be adjourned until the third week of March. At this point of time, NAB Deputy Prosecutor General Akbar Tarrar intervened and said that the NAB chief was a very busy man and he had to do lots of work. He also said that on March 14 Admiral Bokhari had to appear before the Supreme Court in connection with another contempt of court case.
The bench advised NAB chairman to avoid such practices which would result in contempt of court. The NAB chief promptly responded that the court should understand his position as well.
The reaction of the NAB chief annoyed the bench and Justice Naqvi observed that the words of Admiral Bokhari were also contemptuous and warned him to be careful while dealing with the courts.

NAB PG requested the court to exempt Admiral Bokhari from personal appearance as he could be represented through the counsel for proceedings in the contempt of court case in the LHC.

Sadaqat Ali Khan, Prosecutor General (PG) of Punjab, who was representing ACE, opposed the exemption of chairman NAB from personal appearance.

“In this matter, NAB chief is an accused person; therefore, under the contempt law his appearance in the court at every date of the hearing is mandatory,” he said.

The court then rejected NAB’s request for exemption of Admiral Bokhari and directed him to appear before the court on the next hearing on March 18.

It may be mentioned here that ACE, the complainant, had filed the contempt of court plea against NAB chairman in which it alleged was that Admiral Bokhari had violated the LHC order of September 19, 2012 which had validated an inquiry in which Malik Riaz, his son and other 12 persons were implicated as accused person.

The case was regarding the transfer of a 1401 Kanal community land of some villages near Rawat in the name of Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz.
The complainant’s contention was that the NAB, under the direction of the LHC, was bound to prosecute all the accused persons because the LHC did not allow them to re-investigate the matter.
According to ACE, chairman NAB flouted the court’s orders and re-investigated the matter in which NAB declared Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz innocent and filed an application in the Accountability Court (AC) of Rawalpindi to drop the corruption reference against both.