Rehman Malik may face contempt proceedings in Pak SC

Last Updated: Monday, January 25, 2010 - 17:37

Islamabad: Pakistan Supreme Court on Monday said
it was not satisfied with Interior Minister Rehman Malik`s
explanation regarding his "interference" in a probe into
alleged financial irregularities in a state-run steel firm,
paving the way for possible contempt proceedings against him.

The apex court had last month sought a written
explanation from Malik for "interfering" in an ongoing
investigation into alleged wrong-doing and financial
irregularities in the Pakistan Steel Mills.

The court issued notice to Malik after initiating suo
motu proceedings on the basis of a media report of alleged
corruption in the state-run steel mills.

Malik personally appeared in the apex court and presented
his written reply but a three-judge bench headed by Chief
Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry said it was not satisfied with his
explanation.

The court scheduled the next hearing for February 18,
when the bench is expected to initiate contempt of court
proceedings against Malik.

The apex court had issued notice to Malik for
transferring Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) chief Tariq
Khosa, describing it as an act of interference in the court`s
affairs as Khosa was probing the reasons for loss of Rs 22
billion incurred by Pakistan Steel Mills.

Malik had also formed a joint investigation team to
conduct the probe, claiming this was in line with the apex
court`s directives.

In his reply submitted to the court today, Malik answered
the queries of the bench, explained his position and said he
had not committed contempt of court deliberately.

He said he had formed the joint investigation team as the
FIA did not have expertise to handle the case.

The bench said it was satisfied with the probe being
conducted by the FIA.

The Chief Justice told Malik that the Supreme Court has
never interfered in the working of Parliament and the Interior
Ministry and asked why the ministry was meddling in the
matters of the court.

The Chief Justice directed the Attorney General to ensure
Malik`s presence at the next hearing.

According to media reports, former FIA chief Khosa, who
was promoted and made a federal secretary, had been pushing
the Prime Minister`s Secretariat to allow him to arrest a
federal minister of state whose money exchange firm was found
involved in laundering money linked to the steel mills.

Former Pakistan Steel Mills Chairman Moeen Aftab Shiekh,
who was sacked by Premier Yousuf Raza Gilani last year, has
been accused of causing loss of billions of rupees by buying
raw materials at inflated prices and slashing steel prices to
benefit the Abbas Steel Group owned by businessman Riaz Lalji,
an associate of President Asif Ali Zardari.

PTI



First Published: Monday, January 25, 2010 - 17:37

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