ISLAMABAD - The joint investigation team probing Sharif family’s offshore business dealings set alarm bells ringing on Monday when it reported to the Supreme Court that some departments were not only reluctant in handing over records but were also tempering with them.

This caused the special bench overseeing the implementation of the Panama Papers verdict to express concern and telling the attorney general as well as the lawyers representing Sharif family to submit their replies by June 14 to the allegations levelled by the JIT.

The bench also declared legal the video recording of the witness statements by the JIT, while hearing a plea from Hussain Nawaz wherein he demanded immediate stoppage of this practice and formation of a commission to investigate the leaking of his photo depicting him appearing before the probe team.

“The JIT [joint investigation team] is facing impediments and obstacles as there are serious allegations in the JIT application that the state institutions are changing the record, and forgery and tampering has also taken place,” remarked Justice Ijazul Ahsan.

“This will have far-reaching consequences,” he said as the three-judge bench headed by Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan took up the application of the JIT regarding the impediments to the investigation.

Justice Ijazul Ahsan also wondered why some state functionaries resorted to writing to the court after their appearance before the JIT. These letters are later released to the media by the officials, he added.

National Bank of Pakistan President Saeed Ahmed last week appeared before the court and latter he wrote a letter to the SC registrar complaining about the ill-treatment by the JIT members during the investigation.

At the outset of the proceeding, JIT head Wajid Zia presented the application regarding the hurdles being faced in investigation and a reply on the PM’s elder son’s petition over  the photo leak.

The judges examined those thoroughly amidst pin drop silence. There was tight security inside and outside the court, while all the JIT members and Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar were also present there.

Khawaja Haris, representing Hussain Nawaz, contended that there were many issues including the leakage of his client’s picture.

The court noted that the JIT has dismissed the allegations. Upon that, Haris argued, “If they have not done it, they should have submitted a reply specifying the person responsible for the leak”.

Haris said that his client’s application was raising legal issues. He questioned under what provision the JIT makes a video recording of the statement of witnesses appearing before it.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked, “They do understand their anxiety”.

The counsel argued that under section 162 of CrPc video recording of an accused statement was not allowed.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan questioned where there was a legal bar in sections 161 and 162 of CrPC on video recording of witness statement. He asked the counsel to read out the relevant parts of these laws and cite precedents.

Haris agreed with the judge that video recording was not prohibited, but he said the issue of the leakage of the picture remains unresolved.

To allay the concerns of the petitioner, Justice Ijaz observed that the statement is recorded to ensure accurate transcription of the interview, but it could not be used as evidence.

The court directed the attorney general to examine the written report submitted by the JIT on the CCTV image leak and recommend what action can be taken against the person who circulated the photo.

About the JIT application regarding the hurdles in investigation, the court expressed its concern that the team will not be able to complete the probe on time if obstacles are created.

Justice Ejaz asked how the JIT could complete its job within the stipulated two-month timeframe if they are facing obstacles.

The bench observed that the allegations levelled in the JIT application are of a serious nature.

It asked Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar if it was wise for the JIT’s report on the problems being faced by the team to be made public.

The bench directed him that a copy of the report should also be given to Hussain’s counsel if he decides so.

Justice Azmat asked the AAG Rana Waqar that he should keep this in his mind that he would be representing the federation as the chief law officer. “Nothing else I would add,” the judge further said.

The AAG was ordered to file report on the JIT application and Hussain’s petition. The case is adjourned until Wednesday.

Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar were also present there.

Khawaja Haris, representing Hussain Nawaz, contended that there were many issues including the leakage of his client’s picture.

The court noted that the JIT has dismissed the allegations. Upon that, Haris argued, “If they have not done it, they should have submitted a reply specifying the person responsible for the leak”.

Haris said that his client’s application was raising legal issues. He questioned under what provision the JIT makes a video recording of the statement of witnesses appearing before it.

Justice Azmat Saeed remarked, “They do understand their anxiety”.

The counsel argued that under section 162 of CrPc video recording of an accused statement was not allowed.

Justice Ejaz Afzal Khan questioned where there was a legal bar in sections 161 and 162 of CrPC on video recording of witness statement. He asked the counsel to read out the relevant parts of these laws and cite precedents.

Haris agreed with the judge that video recording was not prohibited, but he said the issue of the leakage of the picture remains unresolved.

To allay the concerns of the petitioner, Justice Ijaz observed that the statement is recorded to ensure accurate transcription of the interview, but it could not be used as evidence.

The court directed the attorney general to examine the written report submitted by the JIT on the CCTV image leak and recommend what action can be taken against the person who circulated the photo.

About the JIT application regarding the hurdles in investigation, the court expressed its concern that the team will not be able to complete the probe on time if obstacles are created.

Justice Ejaz asked how the JIT could complete its job within the stipulated two-month timeframe if they are facing obstacles.

The bench observed that the allegations levelled in the JIT application are of a serious nature.

It asked Additional Attorney General (AAG) Rana Waqar if it was wise for the JIT’s report on the problems being faced by the team to be made public.

The bench directed him that a copy of the report should also be given to Hussain’s counsel if he decides so.

Justice Azmat asked the AAG Rana Waqar that he should keep this in his mind that he would be representing the federation as the chief law officer. “Nothing else I would add,” the judge further said.

The AAG was ordered to file report on the JIT application and Hussain’s petition. The case is adjourned until Wednesday.