The Supreme Court on Monday warned the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) not to make recoveries by terrorising citizens and directed the bureau to follow the rule of law in this regard.
A division bench of the apex court led by Acting Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial took strong exception to the anti-graft watchdog’s officials for arresting accused Saifur Rehman from the SC premises.
The accused came to the SC seeking a pre-arrest bail. When he reached the top court’s parking, the NAB officials apprehended him. The bench asked why NAB “intruded” into the court’s premises and summoned the anti-graft buster’s officials.
As the NAB officials appeared before the court, Justice Munib Akhtar expressed his displeasure over them for surrounding the accused and ordered them to take their seats.
Justice Bandial inquired whether Rehman was a main convict that he was arrested in such a “dramatic manner”.
Accused’s counsel Latif Khosa noted that such practice did not take place even in sessions court as had been adopted by NAB in the apex court.
In this, NAB Prosecutor General Asghar Haider maintained that the accused’s bail plea was rejected by the high court on August 26. He said the NAB attempted to arrest Rehman several times but he could not be taken into custody due to his stay at a lawyer’s house.
The prosecutor general admitted that arresting the accused from the SC premises was a mistake and apologised to the top court and accused over his act.
Justice Bandial said NAB’s behaviour was irresponsible however the prosecutor general had admitted his mistake.
Haider informed the court that Rehman owned 20 companies and was accused of embezzling Rs1.5 billion. The court was further told that the accused’s companies were not even registered with the SECP.
Justice Bandial remarked that NAB could not make recoveries by terrorising citizens. He said rule of law was more important and ordered NAB to make recoveries according to the law.
The apex court granted interim bail to Rehman and directed him to submit a surety bond of Rs1 million.
Justice Akhtar reprimanded the NAB officials and suggested registering an FIR against those involved in the arrest.
“NAB officials should be handcuffed and sent from here,” he added.
The SC also ordered the NAB officials involved in the arrest to submit surety bonds of Rs0.1 million each.
The apex court ordered to present the CCTV footage to identify the NAB officials involved in the incident and summoned DG NAB Rawalpindi and DG NAB HR on September 1.