‘Arsalan was running judiciary like a don’
Islamabad: A day after threatening to make public "bombs-like" evidence against the son of the Chief Justice, a Pakistani real estate tycoon told the Supreme Court on Wednesday that his relatives had paid a whopping Rs 342.5 million to Arsalan Iftikhar, who he claimed was running the judicairy like a "don".
The real estate tycoon at the centre of a corruption scandal involving Iftikhar Chaudhry`s son levelled several damning allegations against the judiciary, and said the top judge was aware of the scam for six months but took no action.
Malik Riaz Hussain, the founder of the Bahria Town real estate firm, alleged that the Chief Justice`s son, Arsalan, was running the judiciary like a "don" and vowed to make more revelations about the judiciary in the coming days.
In a statement submitted to the apex court, which had taken suo motu notice of media reports on improper links between the tycoon and Arsalan, Hussain accused him of blackmailing his relatives.
Later, referring to the Chief Justice`s pledge that the apex court would act according to Quranic injunctions and Islamic law in dealing with his son`s case, Hussain produced a Quran during a news conference and asked the Chief Justice to tell the people how many times he had met him (Hussain) in "the dark of night".
Hussain alleged that the evidence against Arsalan was brought to the Chief Justices`s notice six months ago by a "mutual friend" but Choudhary refused to see the proof.
The Chief Justice had claimed that Hussain was indulging in "blackmailing", the tycoon said.
"The Chief Justice should say how long he has known of
this case and why he didn`t take suo motu (action)?" he said.
"They say it is an independent judiciary, it is actually a judiciary being held hostage. It is being run by a don. I am not saying the don is the Chief Justice of Pakistan, the don is Arsalan Iftikhar," Hussain alleged.
Hussain contended that the Chief Justice`s son and the Supreme Court`s Registrar Faqir Hussain were present at his meetings with the top judge.
The tycoon further alleged that the Chief Justice had met Prime Minister Yousuf Raza Gilani several times at the Lahore home of his business partner, Ahmed Khalil. He said a sitting apex court judge was present at these meetings.
Hussain said he had made no allegations against the Chief Justice but had been saddened that the top judge had heard his case in view of a conflict of interest.
"I can be called for contempt of court or sent to jail, I am ready to die. A person who has put his future at stake is not afraid of jails," he said.
Earlier in the day, Hussain informed the Supreme Court through a statement that his relatives had paid a total of Rs 342.5 million to the Chief Justice`s son, who was allegedly blackmailing the businessman.
Hussain said in his statement that his son-in-law Salman Khan, who is based in London, had made cash payments totalling Rs 327 million to Arsalan on various occasions.
The cash payments and expenses on hotels and luxury flats during visits to London and Monte Carlo by Arsalan Iftikhar came to a total of Rs 342.5 million, the statement said.
The Chief Justice initiated suo motu proceedings against his son last week but later recused himself from the case following criticism from legal experts and political parties.
The case is currently being heard by a two-judge bench comprising Justices Jawwad Khwaja and Khilji Arif Hussain.
Arsalan, 34, has denied Hussain`s allegations. He has told the apex court that he has never met Hussain or taken any financial favours from him.
After hearing Hussain, the Supreme Court adjourned the matter till June 14.
In a related development, Supreme Court Registrar acknowledged today that the Chief Justice had met the tycoon "two to three times" in 2008, when the top judge had been deposed from his position.
The Chief Justice was restored the following year.
Hussain`s allegations about the Chief Justice being aware of the allegations against his son for some time were confirmed by an unlikely source ? senior Pakistan People`s Party leader Aitzaz Ahsan, who played a key role in the movement to restore the top judge after he was deposed.
Ahsan told the media that he had personally contacted the Chief Justice after Hussain had shown him documents on the payments made to Arsalan Iftikhar some months ago.
Ahsan said he met the Chief Justice informed him in "general terms" of reports of something embarrassing that could involve his son.
The Chief Justice said he would ask his son about the issue, Ahsan said.
The issue of the Chief Justice`s son has shaken Pakistan`s political arena at a time when the top judge had cracked down on corruption within the PPP-led government and excesses by the armed forces, including enforced disappearances.
The tycoon included copies of Arsalan`s passport, cheques, wire transfers, bank statements and tenancy agreements with his statement to back up his claims.
He said his son-in-law had paid all expenses for three trips made to London by Arsalan during 2010-11 and one visit to Monte Carlo in 2010.
Arsalan was accompanied by an unidentified woman and a man during his trip to Monte Carlo, and 10,000 Euros were paid in cash for losses incurred by the Chief Justice`s son while gambling, the statement said.
The tycoon`s son-in-law also paid by wire transfer for renting a Range Rover Sport vehicle that was used by Arsalan during a visit to London in 2011, the statement said.
Arsalan had claimed that he would influence the outcome of cases in the Supreme Court involving Bahria Town if he was not paid, the tycoon alleged.
However, no relief was provided to Bahria Town by the apex court, Hussain said.
He further contended that the President, other politicians or political parties and intelligence agencies were not involved in the matter.
Hussain said there was no "conspiracy" against the Supreme Court and that he had spoken out on the issue due to his "personal problems".
The tycoon`s counsel Zahid Bukhari yesterday told the court that Hussain would return to Pakistan with evidence against Arsalan. "He is bringing with him evidence that will be like bombs."
Most of the cases in the apex court involving Hussain and Bahria Town are related to alleged irregularities in real estate deals.
Hussain has close ties with all leading political parties and the powerful army.
Most of his real estate projects have been developed with the cooperation of the armed forces.
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