ISLAMABAD - A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry would take up today the case based on Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf’s letter, seeking an independent commission for probing RPPs scam.The PM had requested the court to form a commission under Dr Shoaib Suddle for a fair investigation of the Rental Power Projects (RPPs) case and court registered his letter as Civil Miscellaneous Application, issuing a notice to him to appear in person or through ASC.The apex court in its March 2102 judgment directed NAB chairman to proceed against ministers and secretaries for Water and Power holding charge in 2006 and onward and from 2008 to onward, during whose tenure the RPPs were approved/set up and minister as well as secretary finance holding the charge when the down payment was increased from 7% to 14% and submit fortnightly progress report to Registrar.The case pertained to the period when Raja was Water and Power minister. Raja was not yet a PM when court delivered its judgement in March 2012. But after becoming PM, sources said, he desired to be defended by the federal government so he filed a review petition. But Wasim Sajjad, who had represented Raja in the RPPs case, had on January 21 withdrawn the review petition, saying his client did not want to pursue it. The court accepting the incumbent’s premier plea disposed of the matter.In beginning of this year the apex court had directed the NAB Additional Prosecutor General Rana Zahid Mehmood “to get approved the challans/references against the accused persons (including PM Raja) and to cause their arrest without any hesitation and submit report on January 17”.The APG had informed the court that reference was filed against Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former federal minister for Water and Power, Shaukat Tareen, former Finance Minister, Salman Siddique, ex-secretary Finance, Shahid Rafiq, ex-secretary Water and Power, Ismail Qureshi, former chairman Pepco, Munawar Baseer Ahmed, Tahir Basharat, Fazal Ahmed Khan, Rafiq Butt, Muhammad Anwar Khan, Qaisar Akram and Maqsood Akhtar.But on January 17, 2013 Prosecutor General KK Agha presented a progress report on behalf of the NAB chairman, which stated that they did not have “enough evidence to arrest Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf and 15 others”. NAB chairman said: “The investigation and inquiries are not yet complete.”

Published in The Nation newspaper on 11-Mar-2013