ACE Head Summoned To Answer Queries About CETP Probe

Dawn

HYDERABAD: The Hyd­er­abad circuit bench of the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Thursday ordered Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) chairman to appear in person in the court on Oct 16 to answer questions about inquiry into misappropriation of millions of rupees in the project of combined effluent treatment plant (CETP) in Kotri’s SITE area.

Justice Amjad Ali Sahito passed the order while hearing a set of nine bail applications in the case and warned in case the chairman failed to turn up, appropriate action would be taken against him.

The court noted that ACE had levelled charges on the applicants that they had caused huge loss to government exchequer in the CETP which was established in pursuance of high court’s order. A project cost-I amounting to Rs667 million was approved for the CETP on April 17, 2010 but it remained dysfunctional even after second PC-I and revised expenditure of Rs721.642m.

The court said that it wanted to know “what loss is caused by the applicants to government exchequer with which they are charged, what are liabilities and what are reasons for non-functioning of project and who are prima facie responsible”.

The court said that Irshad Ahmed, ACE’s technical officer, and circle officer ACE Jamshoro Inayat Ali Qureshi, who was investigating officer of the case were asked questions in this regard but both were unable to answer them.

The judge expressed its displeasure against the ACE officers and observed that it was painful to note that the project was initiated in the light of court’s decision but it did not lead to any meaningful result. Accordingly, the court order said, ACE chairman should appear in person in the court on Oct 16 and in case he failed to turn up appropriate action would be taken against him.

ACE circle office said in the report submitted to the court that during the course of inquiry it was found that despite expenditure of Rs721.642m the project remained incomplete.

The report said that prima facie the evidence of misappropriation of government funds was obtained and it was learnt that huge loss was caused to the exchequer.

The ACE probe officer nominated 12 persons who committed cognisable off­ence in collusion with each other punishable under sections 409, 420, 467, 468, 477A, 218, 34 PPC read with section 5(2) Act II of 1947.

Applicant Ghulam Shabbir Khokhar stated in his application that an FIR lodged earlier this year was registered for an offence that took place eight to nine years back. He had surrendered to the court of special judge of anticorruption (provincial) and filed pre-arrest bail which was granted to him.

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