KARACHI: The Sindh High Court (SHC) has disposed of a constitutional petition filed by former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Memon, seeking details of investigation and inquiries initiated against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and praying the court to direct NAB not to arrest him in any hidden inquiry without its prior permission.
In a detailed order issued on Tuesday, the SHC bench, headed by Justice Naimatullah Phalpoto, observed that a bench of the court on December 20, 2019, had issued notices to the respondents as well as the NAB prosecutor for January 24, 2020, ordering that the petitioner would not be arrested till then.
The bench observed that last year NAB prosecutor filed a statement submitting that six inquiries, investigations or references had been initiated against Memon.
According to the court, on October 27, 2021, the NAB prosecutor had filed another statement, submitting that NAB Rawalpindi had initiated an investigation against the holders of public office, legal persons and others involved in fake bank accounts scam regarding the purchase of Plot No.216, E-1, Lines Karachi, Cantonment Board. Besides an inquiry against Memon, Sattar Qureshi Director Technical BPS-18, Anwar Ali Cham, District officer Technical and Talat Hussain, Contractor was also initiated by NAB Sukkur on a complaint.
Memon’s counsel argued that the petitioner had already been granted bail in six inquiries/investigations and references disclosed by the NAB, but he could not apply for pre-arrest bail in the investigation initiated by NAB Rawalpindi and in complaint initiated against petitioner by NAB Sukkur as petitioner had not received call-up notices. The counsel apprehended Memon’s arrest given powers of the NAB chairman to issue directions for arrest in the pending inquiries/investigations under Section 24 of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999.
He pleaded with the court to direct NAB not to arrest Memon in any hidden inquiry or investigation initiated against him and if he was required to be arrested, he may be given prior notice of 10 days to approach the court of competent jurisdiction.
NAB prosecutor Shahbaz Sahotra argued that NAB had filed comments in which particulars of all the inquiries/investigations and references against the petitioner had been disclosed, serving the purpose of the petition.
After hearing both the counsels, the SHC held that “Article 199 of the Constitution provides that the same cannot be invoked if an alternate remedy is available to the aggrieved party under the relevant law, now remedy is available to the petitioner given recent amendment in the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999 through Ordinance XXIII of 2021, called ‘The National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021’ promulgated on 07.10.2021, whereby under Section 7, powers, to deal with the bail matters have been conferred upon the Courts having been established under NAO 1999.”
The court observed that all the requisite information/particulars regarding inquiries/investigations and references had been supplied by NAB to the petitioner for which this petition was filed and no further relief can be granted to Memon and disposed of the petition.