Dar challenges charge-sheet

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad

Federal Minister for Finance Ishaq Dar has challenged indictment by the Accountability Court (AC) before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) saying in his plea that he was charge-sheeted in ‘unusual haste’ by the Accountability Court. The charges were framed two daays after corruption reference documents were given to me whereas under the law there should have been a 7-day gap, says the Finance Minister in his petition.
Dar has submitted that he was not given the copy of charge-sheet at a time when evidence is to be recorded against him on October 4, Wednesday (tomorrow). The IHC division bench comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Miangul Hassan Aurangzeb is hearing the matter today (Tuesday).
The petitioner has cited Judge Accountability Court and National Accountability Bureau (NAB) as respondents. In his petition the finance minister has said that NAB filed an interim reference against him and its adjudication is pending at the accountability court of Islamabad. In the petition, he further submits that he appeared before the court on September 25 when copies of the reference in 23 volumes were supplied to him.
On September 27, the petitioner filed an application before the AC contending that under the law framing of charges was not possible before seven days time since the provision of the copies. The AC however dismissed the application saying that the law mandated the framing of charge within seven days of the supply of document to the accused and not seven days after the supply of documents. Petitioner contended that the AC order is illegal and unlawful.
The petitioner says that as per section 265 (C) Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) the law mandates that the supply of the copy of investigation report and documents are to be provided to the accused not later than seven days before the commencement of trial. In other words it is evident that between supply of the documents and framing of charges there must be a gap of seven days.
The petitioner said that dismissal of his plea was violation of Article 4.Ishaq Dar has further said that his right to fair trial was further compromised when he was not provided with copy of charge sheet while recording of evidence is fixed for October 4. .

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