Islamabad: Noting that one who gives and accepts bribe goes to hell, Pakistan's Supreme Court on Thursday wrapped up its suo motu case involving Chief Justice's son Arsalan Iftikhar and real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain and asked government's top attorney to take strict legal action.
The case involved alleged payment of Rs 342.5 million by Hussain to Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry's son.
A two-judge bench comprising Justices Jawwad Khawaja and Khilji Arif Hussain ordered Attorney General Irfan Qadir to proceed according to the law and take action against Hussain, his London-based son-in-law Salman Khan and Arsalan.
The bench disposed of the case after issuing a short order, which said that the three men had the right to a transparent trial.
The apex court ruled that Hussain, the founder of the real estate firm Bahria Town, had acknowledged that he had tried to buy justice by giving bribes but had shown no regret for his actions.
"The ones who give and the ones who accept bribes, both will go to hell," the order said.
The Chief Justice initiated suo motu proceedings against his son last week but subsequently recused himself from the case after facing criticism from legal experts and political parties.
Questions have also been raised about Arsalan's business interests worth Rs 900 million, especially as he was unemployed till a few years ago.
In a statement submitted to the Supreme, the tycoon said his relatives, including his son-in-law, had paid a total of Rs 342.5 million to the Chief Justice's son.
Hussain further alleged that he was being blackmailed by the Chief Justice's son.
The payments were allegedly made to influence cases in the apex court involving Bahria Town.
Hussain said in his statement that his son-in-law made
cash payments totalling Rs 327 million to the Chief Justice's son 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 apex court said in its order that Hussain had not provided evidence to back up his claim that Rs 327 million was paid in cash to Arsalan Iftikhar.
The documents presented by the tycoon only provide details of Iftikhar's trips, the order said.
The order further noted that Hussain had not submitted any affidavit from his son-in-law and said that the tycoon may have been in the habit of paying bribes to get his work done in the past.
In an apparent reference to a string of interviews given by the tycoon to TV news channels, the apex court said in its order that the media should not allow itself to be used by persons who do not respect the law and the Constitution.
Speaking after the court issued its order, Attorney General Qadir said the case of the three men might be sent to the National Accountability Authority, Pakistan's main anti-corruption agency.
Qadir said if the money involved in the scam was voluntarily returned, then an investigation would not be launched.
However, NAB Chairman Fasih Bukhari said the matter involved two private individuals and did not come under the purview of his agency as there was no loss to the public exchequer.
The Supreme Court has initiated a separate suo moto case against Hussain for levelling several allegations against the Chief Justice at a news conference. That case was today adjourned till June 21.
Hussain had alleged at the news conference that the Chief Justice was aware of a scam involving his son for six months but had taken no action. He further alleged that the Chief Justice's son was running the judiciary like a "don".
First Published: Thursday, June 14, 2012, 12:28