NAB gets five-day remand of archaeology director

Dawn

PESHAWAR: An accountability court here on Monday remanded the director of archaeology and museums, Dr Abdus Samad, into custody of National Accountability Bureau, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa, for further five days in case of misuse of authority while making appointments of Class-IV employees at different archaeological sites.

Judge Naveed Ahmad Khan directed the officials of NAB to again produce the suspect on March 2.

Dr Abdus Samad was arrested on February 14 by NAB when he was asked to turn up at the bureau’s office for answering certain questions regarding the issue.

He was initially remanded into custody of NAB for 10 days and was produced before the court after completion of earlier remand.

Dr Samad faces charges of misuse of authority

Strict security arrangements were made on the premises of the accountability courts as friends and well-wishers of Dr Samad turned up in a large number. Journalists were not permitted to enter the courtroom.

Azeem Dad, a senior prosecutor of NAB, requested the court to allow 14 days of physical custody as the suspect had to be interrogated regarding different charges against him. He claimed that investigation from the suspect had not been completed.

The prosecutor claimed that the suspect had made around 100 appointments of staffers at different archaeological sites in violation of the prescribed rules. He added that there were also charges against the suspect of changing some original statues, which were taken to Korea for exhibition.

Advocate Shumail Butt appeared for the suspect and contended that NAB had been inquiring into the matter for over a year but so far it could not produce any evidence against his client.

He argued that there was no need to provide further remand of the suspect to NAB as there was nothing concrete on the record to connect his client with the commission of any offence.

Mr Butt said that Dr Samad was a known archaeologist and due to his services he was awarded Pride of Performance by the government. He added that his client cooperated with NAB in the inquiry and there was no need of his arrest.

Meanwhile, a bench of Peshawar High Court on Monday granted interim pre-arrest bail to two officials of Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Museum of University of Peshawar and stopped NAB from arresting them in the ongoing investigation related to archaeology department.

The bench of Justice Ishtiaq Ibrahim and Justice Abdul Shakoor directed the two petitioners, Associate Professor Dr Zakirullah and Assistant Curator Zubaida, to submit two sureties of Rs300,000 each.

The bench directed NAB to submit replies to the petitions within a fortnight.

Advocates Mian Abdul Fayyaz and Ashfaq Daudzai appeared for the petitioners and contended that NAB had issued call-up notices to their clients asking them to appear before an investigation team.

They contended that the petitioners apprehended that they might be arrested by NAB. They argued that both the petitioners got nothing to do with the affairs of Peshawar Museum as they worked at Sahibzada Abdul Qayyum Museum of University of Peshawar.

They contended that Peshawar Museum and UoP museum were separate entities as the former was under the supervision of provincial government and the latter was with the university.

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