Zardari lets off man probed for $1.1 bn tax evasion: Report

Last Updated: Tue, Jul 23, 2013 15:20 hrs

Islamabad, July 23 (IANS) Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari has given a property magnate a clean chit in a suspected tax evasion of Rs.119.4 billion (over $1.185 bn) while dismissing the report submitted by a Supreme Court-constituted investigating commission in the Arsalan Iftikhar case, the Dawn reported.

A Suddle Commission had been formed by the Supreme Court to probe an alleged Rs.342 million business deal between property magnate Malik Riaz Hussain and Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.

The commission had indicted Hussain in a colossal tax evasion that amounted to Rs.119.4 billion, and proposed in its interim report that a penalty for concealment of assets in wealth statements filed with income tax returns be enforced on the property tycoon.

Accepting Hussain's representation, President Zardari dismissed the much questioned Dec 4, 2012 decision made by the federal tax ombudsman (FTO), the daily reported citing reports containing references to official Presidency documents.

The documents also stated that a joint representation questioning a suo motu order passed by the FTO had been filed by Hussain and the principal officer of Bahria Town (Pvt.) Ltd.

This was concurrently corroborated by the presidential order, which suggested that the representation had indeed been filed.

The notice and the representation explained that the suo motu case concerning an alleged business deal between Hussain and Arsalan Iftikhar - an attempt to influence the judicial process - was disposed of by the Supreme Court June 14, 2012.

The attorney general of Pakistan was subsequently directed to set the state machinery in motion in order to ensure that "all those who may have committed any illegal acts, including Malik Riaz, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and Salman Ali Khan, are pursued and brought to book with full force and rigour of the law".

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