Taking notice over issuance of more than 1,400 CNG licences by the PPP-led government, despite imposition of ban, the Supreme Court has directed the Director General FIA to assign an honest and competent officers’ team to investigate the matter and submit the report within six weeks.

The court observed that the investigation by the FIA would provide a basis for reaching on a judgement by the court whether rules and procedure were followed in issuance of over 1,400 CNG licences from March 2008 to July 2012 by the former government.

A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry hearing the suo moto case regarding the illegal issuance of CNG licences observed that though it was not possible to examine the each case of CNG license, FIA team should initially conduct inquiry of 20 cases by picking up case files at random in equal number, five from each province, as well as five case files of CNG licences from Islamabad Capital Territory (ICT).

The bench also asked the FIA to probe 64 CNG licences, which were issued after Prime Minister’s summary.

It has sought reply from Secretary Commerce and chairman FBR regarding the lifting of ban on the import of CNG kits and cylinders during December 15, 2012 to December 31, 2012, for giving relief to one party. During the hearing, the court was surprised to know that sites of 47 CNGs were also changed from one place to another during the tenure of former chairman OGRA Tauqir Sadiq illegally. Upon this, the bench further ordered the FIA to probe this matter as well.

The counsel for OGRA Iftikhar Gilani told the bench that former Chairman OGRA had issued 650 CNG licences; however, he argued that not a single licence was issued by the present chairman.

Secretary Petroleum Abid Saeed submitted that a ban was imposed on import of CNG cylinders and kits by the Economic Coordination Committee of the Cabinet (ECC) dated December 15, 2011 and SRO for the same was issued by the Ministry of Commerce on February 1, 2012.

The court was further informed that ban was relaxed for two weeks to facilitate those who had already placed their import orders by the ECC meeting on February 1, 2013 which would involve affectivity from the date of ECC. The court directed the FBR to submit comments after the Secretary Petroleum informed that the consignment of parts and kits is lying on the ports.

Earlier, during the proceedings, Iftikhar Gilani counsel requested the court to appoint a retired judge instead of FIA to conduct the inquiry into issuance of CNG licenses by the previous government when there was complete ban on them due to shortage of gas. He said the new chairman of OGRA has not issued a single CNG license rather requested the government to impose a complete ban on new licences.