KARACHI - An accountability court yesterday indicted former federal petroleum minister Dr Asim Hussain in the corruption reference pertaining to Rs 462 million funds.

Dr Asim of Pakistan People’s Party appeared before the court amid a tight security. The ex-minister among five other officials pleaded not guilty. Petroleum Secretary Chaudhry Ijaz also appeared for the hearing. While responding to the court’s question, Dr Hussain accused National Accountability Bureau (NAB) of submitting fake documents in the case against him. Islamabad High Court (IHC) had already concluded the case, he added.

According to the contents of the charge sheet, Dr Asim had embezzled Rs 462 million when he was servings as minister for petroleum in the PPP government.

According to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Dr Asim Hussain misused his position as the petroleum minister to grant tenders to his favourite bidders, which caused serious losses to the public money.

He is charged with misinforming the Council of Common Interests (CCI) on the matters related to natural gas. He is also allegedly involved in creating an artificial shortage of natural gas during the PPP government.

Dr Asim Hussain also used unfair means to obtain land from Karachi Development Authority for his hospital, Ziaduddin Trust Hospital, the NAB officials said in the charge sheet.

During proceedings in the court, Hussain requested the judge to also include his denial in the charge sheet, which was accepted by the court. The court called witnesses for cross-examination on May 14 (next hearing).

While talking to media persons before the hearing, Dr Asim Hussain said he was a ‘political prisoner’ of the ruling political party. Different corrupt persons are roaming around freely with security protocols while he is in jail, he said. The former minister said he was given 13 books by the accountability bureau 12 of which were about meter reading.

He mocked the alleged fake case against him, saying the bureau would also make him face a case for stealing goats.

He said a commission was formed to probe corrupt people, but he was enduring captivity. He demanded the government establish a judicial commission to probe embezzlement case against him.

Dr Hussain was arrested from the office of Sindh Higher Education Commission (HEC) in August last year. Rangers had acquired his 90-day remand and a terrorism case was lodged against him with North Nazimabad police in November.

He is facing a terror case in an anti-terrorism court for treatment of target killers in his hospital in Karachi, Dr Ziauddin Hospital. The North Nazimabad police case includes anti-terrorism sections.

The ex-minister is accused of providing safe havens to terrorists and target killers belonging to armed wings of political parties.

Meanwhile, National Accountability Bureau filed an anti-corruption case against him. Later, another corruption case relating to his tenure at Sui Northern Gas Pipelines Limited (SNGPL) was instituted against him by the bureau.