Islamabad (September 27, 2017): The Accountability Court on Wednesday indicted Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in the National Accountability Bureau’s reference filed for allegedly possessing assets beyond known sources of income.
Judge Accountability Court Mohammad Bashir indicted Dar in the reference filed on the instructions of Supreme Court in Panamagate verdict.
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The judge read out the charges to Dar. The Minister pleaded non-guilty and opted to contest the charges. Dar said that his assets were well within his sources of income and he would prove this in the trial. Upon this the judge directed NAB to produce prosecution witnesses in next date of hearing for recording evidence and witnesses.
NAB submitted list of 28 persons in the court as prosecution witnesses. Following the indictment, Dar counsel filed an application in the court seeking exemption from appearance in the court for his client.
The counsel added as his was indicted in the case, he should be exempted from personal appearance. NAB prosecutor opposed the plea for exemption.
The court while issuing summon to prosecution witnesses adjourned further hearing for October 4, 2017.
The court summoned two of the 28 witnesses of the prosecution on October 4, 2017.Earlier, Dar appeared before the Accountability Court-I amid strict security arrangements. As Dar reached Federal Judicial Complex, which also houses the accountability court, media was not allowed to entered the complex.The main gate of the complex was closed and even Dar was taken to the court from the rear gate of the building. Strict security arrangements have been made at the complex.A number of lawyers were seen climbing over the gate to enter the complex.
The corruption reference, pertaining to Dar’s owning assets that are disproportionate to his known sources of income, was filed by the National Accountability Bureau in light of the Supreme Court’s July 28 judgment in the Panama Papers case.Dar appeared in court on Monday after his bailable warrants for arrest was issued by the court when he did not came up for hearing on September 19 despite court summon.During Monday’s hearing, Judge Mohammad Bashir had announced that the finance minister would be indicted on the next hearing. Dar counsel was handed over copy of the NAB reference — spread over 23 volumes.Dar’s counsel asked the court to grant seven days for perusing the reference against his client but the judge denied the request, observing that the court has to complete the trial in six months as per the apex court’s directions.
“If you take a month to read the reference how will we wrap up proceedings in the given time,” the judge asked, observing further that two days are enough to go over the reference.