Ziaullah Afridi: a YOYO between Ehtesab Commission and High Court, Remanded Again
PESHAWAR: The Ehtesab Commission Court on Tuesday remanded former mines and minerals minister Ziaullah Afridi in two other mining scams, within a span of 24 hours where he was granted bail by the Peshawar High Court.
A large number of his supporters were anxiously waiting to see their leader outside the Ehtesab Court situated in Phase VII, Hayatabad. They later went to the EC office where bad news was awaiting them. Due to the large crowds, he was not produced before the court and remained put in the EC lockup.
The court of judge Subhan Sher ordered the shifting of Ziaullah to Central Prison Peshawar in the Tangi chromite and Abbottabad mining cases.
Additional Deputy Prosecutor Qazi Babar Irshad informed the court the PHC had accepted the bail application of the accused in the initial Nowshera illegal mining case. He said two other cases were also registered against Ziaullah and the high court did not mention them in the bail orders. Irshad said Ziaullah’s release in light of the remaining two cases is hence illegal. Upon hearing the arguments, the court ordered Ziaullah be shifted to the prison on judicial remand.
Free to go
On Monday, a division bench of Justice Musarat Hilali and Justice Younis Thaheem ordered the former minister’s release against one Rs2 million surety bond and two personal bonds.
Ziaullah was represented by a panel of lawyers who termed the extension of remand in the Tangi and Abbottabad cases illegal because the accused had already served the required physical custody period of 45 days, as mentioned in the Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa Ehtesab Commission (Amendment) Act 2015.
“The accused, as mines and mineral minister, used his position to influence the members of the mining committee to process and give favours in the renewal and assignment of Tangi chromite mines from Muhammad Ayaz to Jalal Khattak against the Concession Rules 2005,” a statement issued by the commission said about the second case.
It also stated that the mines were supposed to be auctioned instead of the contract being renewed. The total loss to the provincial exchequer was estimated at Rs3 billion.
The third case registered against the former minister pertains to his alleged involvement in the awarding of mining contracts in Abbottabad.
Ziaullah was arrested on July 9 for misappropriation of billions of rupees through illegal mining. Later, EC registered two other cases against him,. The cases include charges of misuse of power, illegal appointments and extending undue favours in granting mining contracts.
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