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ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday disposed of a plea seeking early disposal of National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) appeal against the acquittal of former finance minister Shaukat Tarin in the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case.

A two-member bench of IHC comprising Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mahmood Jahangiri heard the application moved by Tarin and disposed of the same after hearing his counsel’s arguments.

During the hearing, Tarin’s lawyer argued that an accountability court acquitted former prime minister Pervez Ashraf and other accused. A total of seven accused were acquitted in the Piraghaib and Sahiwal Rental Power references, he added.

The counsel further said Shaukat Tarin is a member of the prime minister’s Economic Advisory Council and requested the court to dispose of the NAB appeal against his client’s acquittal at the earliest.

At this, Justice Farooq said early hearing of the appeal is not possible due to SOPs put in place in light of the recent rise in Covid-19 infections in the federal capital.

The court disposed of the plea and adjourned further hearing of the case for an indefinite period.

Tarin is accused of approving the RPPs contracts.

The accountability watchdog had filed the case in 2014 against Raja Pervez Ashraf, Tarin, former federal secretaries Ismail Qureshi and Shahid Rafi, former managing director of the Pakistan Electric Power Company (Pepco) Tahir Basharat Cheema and directors of Pepco Razi Abbas, Wazir Ali Bhaio, Saleem Arif, Abdul Qadeer Khan, and Iqbal Ali Shah. The accused were charged with allegedly misusing Rs6.1 million, the amount paid as legal fees and Tarin was one of the accused in the case. In 2009, the then opposition Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz filed the RPPs case in the Supreme Court. The Supreme Court declared the RPPs as illegal and void ab initio because of alleged wrongdoing in the award of RPPs’ contracts, including huge mobilisation advance and expensive upfront tariffs.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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