ISLAMABAD: A former Senate Secretariat additional secretary Murtaza Rana was arrested on Tuesday over his alleged involvement in a scam after dismissal of his pre-arrest bail application.
An Islamabad High Court (IHC) division bench comprising Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui and Justice Athar Minallah dismissed the bail application filed by Murtaza Rana, after which National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials took him into custody.
Rana, an executive member of the Senate Secretariat Employees Cooperative Housing Society (SSECHS), was seeking pre-arrest bail in the same NAB reference.
The reference was registered over the alleged transfers and sale of land at throwaway prices and embezzlement by Rana and an accomplice, Muhammad Akram.
Rana is accused of selling or transferring SSECHS land in Mouza Kirpa, Pind Daya, Tehlyala and Gagri without prior approval from the Islamabad Circle registrar and causing losses to the tune of Rs42.5 million, NAB had stated before the court.
Rana did not deposit the proceeds into SSECHS bank accounts or inform any society official of the transactions, the NAB officials had alleged.
Earlier, a division bench comprising Justice Noorul Haq N Qureshi and Justice Shaukat Aziz Siddiqui had arrived at divergent conclusions on bail, and the issue was referred to IHC Chief Justice Muhammad Anwar Khan Kasi.
The petitioner’s counsel had claimed that no sale transaction had taken place and nothing was taken out of the society’s account.
Counsel had added that Rana was not involved in the sale or purchase of land, nor was he a member of the purchase committee, adding that he was roped in despite being exonerated by the Senate special committee.
While opposing bail, NAB authorities had argued that Rana was the main suspect in the case and had been instrumental in the alleged embezzlement.
The authorities had maintained that no documents could be placed on record to support Rana’s claims.
In addition, NAB claimed that Rana was not cooperating with the investigation.
“Pre-arrest bail is meant to save [the] innocent from humiliation, harassment and mala fide, while the question of further inquiry is not of prominent value, rather it is of minimal consideration,” Justice Kasi had stated in his order.
Subsequently, while agreeing with Justice Siddiqui, he favoured dismissing Rana’s bail application.
Rana will be produced before the Islamabad Accountability Court for physical remand on Thursday (today).
Published in The Express Tribune, October 22nd, 2015.