ISLAMABAD - The National Accountability Bureau has grilled Advisor to Prime Minister on Parliamentary Affairs Babar Awan in Nandipur Power Project scam, The Nation learnt reliably on Saturday.

Earlier, the NAB had informed the Supreme Court that the Nandipur scam caused a loss of Rs27 billion to the national exchequer due to delay and then non-issuance of legal opinion by the Ministry of Law and Justice.

Well-placed sources said that a three-member investigation team of the Rawalpindi Bureau summoned Babar Awan on Saturday and investigated him for more than four hours. They said that NAB team gave a questionnaire to the PM’s advisor with advice to return the same within a week otherwise he will have to face the consequences. They mentioned that the bureau had issued several summons to Awan but he always ignored NAB notices. Earlier, the NAB had also grilled former prime minister Syed Yousaf Raza Gilani, former law minister Maula Bukhsh Chadio and others allegedly responsible for delay in the Nandipur Power Project. The NAB had recorded their statements too. Babar Awan appeared before the NAB team after a long time and ‘he did not cooperate with investigators’.

Awan is the first federal minister of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) government who appeared before NAB in a corruption case.

The NAB in its interim report claimed that officials of the Ministry of Law and Justice had failed to exercise their lawful authorities causing a loss of Rs27,292 million to the national exchequer. “Hence they committed the offence (s) of corruption and corrupt practices as defined u/s 9 (a)(vi) and (xii) of the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).”

The bureau stated that the Ministry of Water and Power made repeated requests to the law ministry to issue the legal opinion but all in vain. “Hence, finance agreement could not be executed due to the conflict between the Ministry of Law and Justice and the Ministry of Water and Power because of which a delay of more than 2 years occurred in the execution of the finance agreement,” it added. The report further said: “When all the efforts to obtain the legal opinion from the Ministry of Law by the Ministry of Water and Power failed then a summary was moved to the cabinet to resolve the issue. The cabinet in its decision on August 24, 2011 approved the Pakistan government guarantee with consensus as a special case and further desired that all the ministries should resolve the issue as per Rules of Business, 1973 after holding meaningful discussion”.

On the other hand, Justice (Retd) Rehmat Hussain Jaffery Commission report said that Nandipur Power Project scam caused a loss of Rs113 billion to the national exchequer.

Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on a petition of former foreign minister Khawaja Asif regarding a delay in Nandipur project expressed his displeasure over the delay in investigation into the scam and lamented on the conduct of the NAB for not filing a reference against the accused. The CJP had asked why the reference had not been filed against the persons responsible for the delay in the project.