Verdict on Babar Awan’s plea for acquittal once again delayed till May 22
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – The accountability court once again delayed the verdict on former law minister Babar Awan’s plea for acquittal in the Nandipur power project on Monday.
The verdict could not be announced as Judge Arshad Malik was on leave. The verdict will now be announced on May 22.
Talking to the media after postponement of the verdict, Babar Awan said that Shehbaz Sharif had fled abroad. “The cases are also being tried against Shehbaz Sharif and he should quit as the opposition leader morally,” he said.
He said that the PAC chairman should be appointed in consultation with the PTI and its allies. “Democracy will not derail. We will expose the people behind artificial inflation,” he said.
On April 26, the court had reserved the verdict on the acquittal plea of former law minister Babar Awan in the Nandipur power project case.
The court had delayed the verdict on the acquittal plea on April 30.
Babar Awan, Raja Pervaiz Ashraf indicted in Nandipur case
However, all accused pleaded not guilty. The court has summoned witnesses on March 19.
The judge remarked that he wants to dispose the reference at the earliest. Meanwhile, the court has decided to try the case on daily basis.
On March 8, former law minister withdrew his plea for acquittal in the Nandipur power project case. Babar Awan withdraws plea for acquittal in Nandipur power project case
The accountability court accepted his plea not to announce verdict on his acquittal plea. Now the court will frame charges against Babar Awan. The court has summoned all the accused on March 11, while copies of the reference have been provided to all accused.
The court also ordered all accused to ensure their attendance on the next date of hearing.
Earlier, Judge Bashir had postponed the verdict on the plea of Babar Awan seeking acquittal in the Nandipur power project case till March 8. Judge Arshad Malik had remarked that surely the delay has been proved in the Nandipur Power Project. He also said that time is required to check the records and verify that the former law minister is responsible for this delay or not.
The court had reserved the verdict of Nandipur Power Project case. Dr Awan informed the court that he was not the law minister when two summaries had been sent to the Ministry of Law. “The new law minister did not even grant an approval after I left. Approvals are the law secretary’s responsibility and not the minister’s.”
He accepted that the Nandipur project was not completed but alleged that a corruption reference was initiated against him selectively.
The verdict will be announced after hearing more arguments.
Babar Awan faces the charge of causing a loss of Rs 27 billion to the national exchequer. In 2012, a one-man commission comprising Justice (r) Rehmat Hussain Jafferi had revealed in a report that due to the delay in the project, the national exchequer had suffered a loss of Rs27 billion. The project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) on December 27, 2007, at a cost of $329 million.
On January 28, 2008, the contract was signed between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited (NPGCL) and the Dong Fang Electric Corporation (DEC), China and two consortiums – COFACE for 68.967 million euros and SINOSURE for $150.151 million – were set up for financing the project.
The Water and Power Ministry had sought legal opinion on the project from the Law Ministry in accordance with the schedule of the agreement in July 2009, but the accused repeatedly refused to do so.
Furthermore, the Ministry of Water and Power also failed to take concrete steps to resolve the issue, and the matter remained pending.
According to details shared by the NAB, after Awan was replaced as the law minister, a legal opinion was issued in November 2011 – after over two years. This inordinate and malafide delay caused a loss of Rs27 billion to the national exchequer. During the investigation, it was established that the accused committed the offence(s) of corruption and corrupt practice, as defined in u/s 9 (a) (vi) and (xii) read with Sr.5 of Schedule Offences of NAO, 1999.