ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau Thursday moved the Islamabad High Court challenging the acquittal of former law minister Dr Babar Awan and Justice (Retd) Riaz Kayani in Nandipur power project case.

NAB filed its petition through Deputy Prosecutor General (DPG) NAB Sardar Muzafar Abbasi and prayed to the court to set aside their acquittal order dated June 25 passed by the Accountability Court (AC) whereby the accused were acquitted under section 265 – K of CrPC.

The petition stated that it was October 26, 2011 when Supreme Court of Pakistan while deciding a matter regarding delay in Nandipur project, nominated a Judicial Commission consisting of Justice (Retd) Rahmat Hussain Jafferi to determine the responsibility for causing delay in the initiation of the project.

It added that according to the commission report, the officials and officers of Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs were held responsible for causing delay in completion of documents. Thereafter, the Ministry of Water and Power referred the matter to NAB which filed the reference before AC Islamabad after completing its investigation in this matter.

The NAB told the court that the accused person in connivance with others caused total loss of Rs27292.9 million (approximately 27.3 billion) to the state by not rendering the legal opinion expeditiously without any lawful justification.

It adopted in the petition that the AC passed their acquittal orders without considering the gravity of the offence committed by the accused and announced the same in a hasty manner without giving proper opportunity to the prosecution to produce adequate evidence, which is against the principle of natural justice.

“The learned Accountability Court passed the impugned order without proper appreciation of evidence available on the record as collected by the investigation officer and submitted before the trial court along with the challan of the case. There is sufficient evidence available on the record against the respondent but the learned Accountability Court while accepting the application under section 265-K Cr P C did not consider the same which is against the dictum of the superior courts,” maintained the NAB petition.

It contended that the impugned order is based on surmises and conjectures and is the result of misreading and non-reading of oral as well as documentary evidence produce by the prosecution before the AC.

“The impugned order is not sustainable in the eye of law, hence liable to be set aside and the accused is liable to be tried in accordance with law,” maintained the NAB.

The anti-graft watchdog argued that as a matter of fact the respondents (Awan and Kayani) are the main accused in the reference and by prematurely acquitting them, the trial court has adversely damaged the prosecution case and by all implications it tantamount extending favour to the other co-accused persons.

Therefore, NAB prosecutor prayed to the court to set aside AC’s order of acquittal of the accused by dismissing their application filed under section 265-K in the interest of justice and also requested the court to allow the prosecution to adduce the evidence against them.

In its petition, the NAB also included the investigation report on delaying execution of the project and charges against the accused persons.