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Will Pakistan PM be arrested today in corruption case?

9:57 AM, Wednesday, January 16th, 2013
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Raja Pervez AshrafIslamabad: Pakistan’s Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf is facing the prospect of being arrested on Wednesday in a corruption case.

The country’s Supreme Court had yesterday ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to arrest 16 accused including the PM by Wednesday afternoon and present them before it the same day. The arrests were ordered in the Rs 22 billion Rental Power Projects (RPP) scam.

Apart from the PM, other accused include former ministers and officials involved in the projects.

A three-member bench led by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry had yesterday asked the anti-corruption panel to ensure that no one flees the country.

The apex court in its earlier verdict in March 2012 had observed that rules and regulations were violated in the projects due to which the national exchequer witnessed losses worth billions.

The court has declared the rental power projects illegal and also ordered them to be shut down.

The Supreme Court had last year ordered the initiation of proceedings against Ashraf and all others involved in the case. However, the anti-corruption panel did not carry out the investigation.

The PM is facing accusations of having received bribes and commission in 2008 when he served as the federal minister for water and power. He has however denied accepting bribes when approving power generation projects in 2010.

PM Ashraf also came to be known as ‘Raja Rental’ after he was named as an accused in the case. He is also facing allegations of buying property in London from wealth amassed through involvement in various scams.

Ashraf called an emergency meeting shortly after the court issued his arrest warrant. He also called legal experts to the Prime Minister’s house to seek their opinion on how to respond to the court’s order.

President Asif Ali Zardari, who was in Karachi, also convened an emergency meeting to discuss the situation.

On December 15, 2011, Chief Justice Chaudhry had taken suo motu notice of applications of then ministers Syed Faisal Saleh Hayat and Khwaja Asif who alleged that corruption had been committed in the projects.

 

 

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