KARACHI: While expressing its displeasure over performance of the National Accountability Bureau in concluding inquiry into a multibillion rupee corruption case in the irrigation department, the Sindh High Court on Monday wondered who would stop corruption if it was on the rise in the province.
Headed by Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Shaikh, a two-judge bench was hearing the pre-arrest bail applications of the project director of Rohri Canal Lining Project, Sukkur, Ashfaq Noor Memon, chief engineer Wali Mohammad Naich and others in the mega corruption case of the department.
The bench extended the protective bail, earlier granted to the two officials, and put off the hearing to a date to be later pronounced by the court’s office.
Chief Justice Sheikh remarked that who would stop corruption if it was on the rise.
He observed that houses and crops of thousands of people were damaged every year due to floods and negligence of the department.
The NAB prosecutor submitted that the accused persons had misappropriated Rs7 billion allotted for construction of embankments on Rohri Canal.
He said that the accused persons were issued notices for investigation but they obtained a restraining order and did not cooperate in the course of investigation.
The prosecutor further said that NAB was also restrained from carrying out a survey on the canal.
The bench directed NAB to submit a detailed report regarding the inquiry and investigation into mega corruption case by the next date of hearing.
Shahrukh Jatoi’s appeal
Another division bench put off till Sept 22 the hearing of the criminal review application of Shahrukh Jatoi, a death row convict in the Shahzeb murder case, seeking his retrial in the juvenile court after partly hearing arguments from his counsel.
Advocate Farooq H. Naek appeared on behalf of the convict and contended that his client was juvenile at the time of committing the crime, therefore, he could not be tried under the anti-terrorism law.
He also told the judges that the convict had entered into a compromise with the victim’s family.
However, Justice Kalhoro told the applicant’s lawyer that the court first wanted to hear arguments on the convict’s appeal.
Shahrukh Jatoi, son of Sikandar Jatoi, and his friend Nawab Siraj Ali Talpur were on June 7, 2013 sentenced to death and two other co-accused got life imprisonment for killing 20-year-old Shahzeb, son of DSP Aurangzeb Khan, on Dec 25, 2012 near his home in the Defence Housing Authority.
Later, in a speedy trial, Judge Ghulam Mustafa Memon of the Anti-Terrorism Court-III sentenced Shahrukh Jatoi and a co-accused, Nawab Siraj Talpur, to death and Sajjad Talpur and Ghulam Murtaza Lashari, the Talpurs’ servants, to suffer life imprisonment in the case.
An application — filed on behalf of the victim’s family in the SHC under Section 345 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code, asking the court to allow the convicts and the legal heirs of the victim to settle the matter out of court as they had pardoned them, waiving the right to Qisas and Diyat (compensation) — has been pending disposal.
According to the prosecution, Shahzeb had an altercation with the accused persons as they tried to tease his sister and later the issue was settled by some elders, but they killed the victim by opening fire on his vehicle.
Initially, the case (FIR 591/12) was registered under Sections 302 (premeditated murder), 109 (abetment) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code on a complaint of the deceased’s father. However, during the investigation, Section 354 (assault or criminal force to woman with intent to outrage her modestly) of the PPC and Section 7 of the Anti-Terrorism Act, 1997 were incorporated in the FIR.
The unfortunate episode started with the misbehaviour of accused Lashari with the victim’s sister. She stated in the trial court that the accused hurled indecent remarks at her when she was about to enter her 11th-floor apartment upon her return from a wedding.
The teenage girl deposed that she immediately phoned her mother about the misbehaviour of the Talpurs’ servant.
The girl’s mother stated in her deposition in court that she immediately sent her son home as his sister was in trouble.
The victim returned and had an altercation with the Talpurs’ servant and it led to a quarrel between him and the accused persons. The victim’s mother tried to pacify the situation and directed her son to tender an apology to the accused persons.
The victim did what his mother asked him to do, but the accused persons did not accept the apology saying that they would be satisfied only if accused Lashari, who was employed as a cook by the Talpurs only two days before the incident, was allowed to slap the victim.
The victim’s mother directed her son to leave the place and immediately after his departure accused Jatoi took out his pistol and threatened that he would kill Shahzeb. Then the four accused also departed and the victims’ parents went to the apartment of the two accused Talpurs’ father, Nawab Imdad Ali Talpur, to calm the situation. However, the accused persons intercepted the victim at Khayaban-i-Bahria and shot him dead.
Published in Dawn, September 19th, 2017