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It is unjust to keep suspects in custody for long time, SC tells NAB

  • The top court stated that people involved in white-collar crimes should be treated differently than those involved in violent crimes
23 Oct 2020

(Karachi) Taking notice of lengthy detention of accused by National Accountability Bureau (NAB), the Supreme Court stated it is unjust for the accountability bureau to arrest suspects for investigation and keep them in its custody for a long time. The court also sought reasons for the delay in trial by the accountability courts.

A two-member bench, comprising of Justice Umar Ata Bandial and Justice Yahya Afridi, heard the bail plea of former director food Punjab Muhammad Ajmal which stated that keeping the accused in detention would not be fair.

"Arrest the suspects if they are a threat to society or there are fears that they would hamper the trial in any way," the court said. It stated that NAB can use other investigation tools other than arresting the suspects.

The top court maintained that people involved in white-collar crimes should be treated differently than those involved in violent crimes.

The court also sought reasons from the Lahore's accountability court for the delay in the trial, saying that the statements of all 38 prosecution witnesses should be recorded and the court should be apprised regarding how long NAB cases were usually delayed for.

The SC also inquired about the 80 pending cases on which the NAB prosecutor assured the court that the anti-graft body would not delay any reference. “NAB should abide by the recent decision of the Supreme Court,” Justice Yahya Afridi said. “If NAB has an objection to hearings on a daily basis, then it should file for a review.”

The prosecutor replied that he was happy with the decision, adding that NAB also wanted the cases to end soon.

After the proceedings, the SC adjourned the hearing of the case till third week of November.

SC