Top Pak court to probe official’s death

AGENCE FRANCE PRESSE ARABBEWS

Chairman of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Fasih Bokhari, center, leaves the Supreme Court building in Islamabad on Wednesday, after the case hearing of the corruption scandal involving Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf. (AFP)

Thursday 24 January 2013

ISLAMABAD: Pakistan’s top judge ordered yesterday the Supreme Court to investigate the death of an official probing a corruption scandal involving the prime minister.

Kamran Faisal was found dead last Friday in a government hostel just days after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over the long-running graft scandal into so-called Rental Power Plants (RPPs).
According to the initial findings of an autopsy, Faisal committed suicide, but his family and some colleagues dispute that he killed himself.

Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, who is hearing the corruption case, ordered another bench to probe Faisal’s death, following a report from the court’s registrar listing the doubts of his friends and family.
“The office is directed to place this case before another bench on Jan. 24 for further proceedings,” Chaudhry told the court.

He described Faisal’s death as “shocking” and said that his family, friends and colleagues were not satisfied with the current investigation, being carried out by police and a government-appointed commission. “His family members, colleagues, friends and the public at large have shown annoyance and grievances,” said Chaudhry, reading out the report submitted by the Supreme Court registrar.

“And according to them, they are not expecting free, fair and honest investigation because of the involvement of highly influential political and executive authorities of the country in the RPP scam,” said the judge.
The long-running probe into the prime minister and other officials relates to allegations of kickbacks during Ashraf’s tenure as minister for water and power.

Pakistan’s anti-corruption watchdog, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), for which Faisal worked, has suspended its probe into the scandal pending inquiries into the death.

NAB says Faisal, second in charge of the RPP probe, suffered from “mental stress” and “psychological issues”. He had asked to be taken off the case, but the Supreme Court refused a written request on Jan. 7 and ordered he be reinstated.
Faisal’s father, Abdul Hameed, told AFP on Monday that he believed his son was murdered.

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