The Supreme Court of Pakistan (SC) heard the Bank of Punjab (BoP) scam case and criticized the performance of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in recovering the amount from the owners of Haris Steel Mills.

A three-member bench headed by Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry heard the case on Monday.

During the hearing Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry said former bank of Punjab (BoP) President Hamesh Khan, the principal accused in a Rs9 billion scam, and Sheikh Afzal, the owner of Haris Steel Mills and the main character in the scam, could not be kept in jail indefinitely.

The bench expressed displeasure over not sorting out the issue of property for debt recovery in the reconciliation committee.

The counsel of Sheikh Afzal, owner of the mill, told the court that the plea bargain has almost been done and half of the amount has been paid off.

The lawyer told that some of his client’s property in Dubai has been sold for Rs1.5 billion and pleaded that the court should order NAB to investigate the matter.

On this, the Chief Justice remarked that without the owner’s consent, one cannot sell even a pen then how his property worth Rs 1.5 billion was sold. He continued that NAB is unable to carry out investigation within the country then how one can expect it to investigate the matter abroad. He said that every one is criticising NAB’s performance.

Justice Jawwad S. Khawaja also passed critical remarks regarding the performance of NAB and said that no one trusts the state institutions now and how NAB can be sent abroad to fix the issues when they are unable to do it here.

Haris Steel Mills and two sister concerns had secured Rs9 billion loan from BoP in connivance with its officials including its then president Hamesh Khan in 2007.

Later, the court adjourned the hearing till October 25 and sought the progress report from the prosecutor.