Pakistan's anti-corruption agency refuses to arrest PM

Last Updated: Thu, Jan 17, 2013 10:40 hrs

Islamabad, Jan 17 (IANS) Pakistan's anti-corruption agency Thursday refused to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf on suspicion of corruption, saying there was not enough evidence to arrest him, Xinhua reported.

The Supreme Court ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Tuesday to arrest Ashraf and 15 others within 24 hours in a case involving private power stations built to provide electricity to energy-starved Pakistan.

Ashraf was minister for water and power at that time.

During Thursday's hearing, NAB Chairman Fasih Bukhari told the court that the investigation report submitted to the court in the Rental Power Projects (RPP) case was inaccurate.

He said investigation officers had worked in a hurry and did not provide proof in their report.

Criticising the NAB for changing its stance, Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhamamd Chaudhry said the court could itself monitor the case and ordered the NAB to submit its complete case file.

The apex court in its earlier verdict in last March had observed that the rules and regulations were violated in these projects due to which the national exchequer witnessed losses of billions.

On March 30, a two-member Supreme Court bench headed by Chief Justice Chaudhry had observed that the policy of the rental power projects was not defined on a transparent basis. Rather than overcoming circular debt, the authorities endorsed more contracts.

Justice Chaudhry then directed that legal proceedings be carried out against Ashraf and then secretary finance for water and power. It also said that all rental power projects should be dissolved.

Earlier Thursday, talking to the media outside the Supreme Court building before the hearing of the corruption case, the NAB chief said it was a matter of great satisfaction that the political leadership had united to save democracy.

Bukhari appreciated the political leadership's decision that nobody would be allowed to function against democracy, Geo News reported.

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