Friday, October 28, 2022
RAWALPINDI: While expressing its annoyance at the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab chief, Lahore High Court (LHC) on Friday remarked that the institution has become a “political tool”.
The remarks were passed by the LHC's Rawalpindi bench when it heard the case filed by Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah against his arrest warrants issued by ACE Punjab. The director-general of ACE Punjab, Nadeem Sarwar, also appeared in court.
“Your institution has become a political tool. One [DG] comes and forms a case, another (DG) comes and finishes that case,” observed the court. It also slammed the official for obtaining Sanaullah’s arrest warrants by making a false statement.
“Tell the court if you wish to arrest Rana Sanaullah or not,” asked the court. At this, the DG said that his department is not interested in arrested the interior minister.
Upon hearing this, the court sent Rana Sanaullah's case to a trial court, adding that the minister can file an application for acquittal under 249A.
At the last hearing, the court had warned that it would send the anti-corruption watchdog’s additional director general (DG) to jail over incorrect registration of the case.
The court adjourned the hearing till October 28 and directed DG ACE Punjab to appear in court with the complete record of the case along with full preparation.
Last week, the Rawalpindi bench of LHC suspended a non-bailable warrant to arrest Rana Sanaullah Khan.
The warrants were issued by a special magistrate for failing to appear in an inquiry regarding a corruption case filed against the minister. ACE Punjab had tried arresting the minister but failed to do so.
On the same day, ACE Punjab was also issued a notice by the Rawalpindi bench in which it sought records related to the case.
The development came following a petition filed by the interior minister’s counsel advocate Razzaq A Mirza on his behalf, which stated that the ACE has obtained the warrant through misrepresentation.
On October 8, a special judicial magistrate of Rawalpindi Ghulam Akbar issued the arrest warrant for Sanaullah at the request of ACE Punjab in an inquiry pertaining to plots in a housing society that were purchased at a nominal price.
Earlier, Adviser to Punjab CM for Anti-Corruption Brigadier (retd) Musaddiq Abbasi told the media that Rana Sanaullah has been found guilty in the corruption case against him.
Sanaullah accepted two plots as a "bribe” from an “illegal housing society” — Bismillah Housing Scheme — in the Chakwal district, he said.
Abbasi said ACE launched the land acquisition inquiry in 2017 against the minister. As per inquiry, the housing society's owner presented two plots measuring 10 kanals as a bribe, he said.
Abbasi added the plots were transferred to Sanaullah at a much lower price than the scheduled rate. The plots are still in the possession of the minister and his wife, he claimed.
He noted the probe also found that the records for plots 18A and 139A were missing.
On October 8, the PTI said on its official Twitter account that a non-bailable arrest warrant had been issued for Rana Sanaullah and a police party had left to arrest him but failed to achieve its objective.