ISLAMABAD -  The Islamabad High Court on Monday turned down a petition of former chairman SECP Zafar Hijazi who had approached the court to quash an FIR registered against him for allegedly tampering with records of the Sharif family’s companies.

A single bench of IHC comprising Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani announced the decision which he had earlier reserved after hearing of arguments of both the sides.

Hijazi had filed the petition through his counsel Syed Ishfaq Hussain Naqvi and cited federation through Ministry of Interior, FIA through its director general and station house officer (SHO), special investigation unit (SIU) Islamabad as respondents.

The former SECP chairman stated in his petition that probe against a public company namely Chaudhry Sugar Mills Limited was initiated in 2011 on two-fold allegations, the money-laundering and investigation under Section 263 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 for probing compliance of international accounting standard (IAS 19) regarding employees benefits and receivables of Rs121 million and thus two separate files were opened for said two actions (money-laundering and routine examination) in the SECP.

He informed the court that second file pertaining to routine examination of the affairs of the company under section 263 of the Companies Ordinance, 1984 (now repealed) was not formally closed through a proper note due to an omission. The fact was admitted and acknowledged by the concerned officials who attributed the same to a bona fide omission or inadvertence.

He added that the said proceedings were initiated, conducted and withdrawn by the concerned officials of SECP prior to the appointment of the petitioner as SECP chairman in December 2014. The petitioner neither supervised the said proceedings nor had any remote concern with the said proceedings.

Later, he maintained that the media highlighted issue of money-laundering and the officials concerned were asked to prepare a briefing while in the course of preparation, the said omission was revealed. The officials concerned inserted the note in the second file pertaining to proceedings under section 263 of the repealed ordinance but the same was dated as 14-01-2013. The petitioner, however, was kept in dark as to the insertion of a back-dated note in the second file.

The petitioner said that the officials of SECP who had initiated the proceedings, conducted the same, closed the said proceedings and added the said ante dated note. The JIT, in Panama case, started probing the said note while those involved, falsely blamed the petitioner, to save their skin and the said persons accused the petitioner that the note was added on his instruction.

He maintained that the enquiry was directed by the apex court to probe the said note. A team of FIA was appointed to conduct the enquiry and submit report. After conclusion of the probe, the Supreme Court ordered registration of an FIR against the petitioner.

He said the FIR 13/17 dated July 10, 2017 was lodged against him under sections 466, 471 of PPC read with section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947.

Hijazi contended that the petitioner had been subjected to and had become a victim of mala fide investigation by the prosecution. The charges framed under the FIR were motivated by enmity, malice and ulterior designs on part of the prosecution and the witnesses, as was evident from the facts and circumstances of the case.

He argued that offences under sections 466/471 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 on the subject matter were not made out, which warranted quashing of the FIR.

He added that it was an admitted fact that the petitioner was a public servant, whereas section 466 made the offence of forging a document applicable to a person who had done so by ‘purporting’ the document “to be made by a public servant in his official capacity”. The provisions of section 466 were, therefore, inapplicable to the instant case.

The former SECP chairman said hat section 466 began with the word “whoever forges a document” and similar was the expression of the section 471. Maheen Fatima and Ali Azeem Ikram had admitted to have added the note and did not deny the same therefore the same could neither be treated as forged nor it could be termed tampered. The word “tamper” connoted the idea of already existing document and then an alteration in it. It is submitted without conceding that direction to add note, in any stretch of imagination, did not fall within the ambit and scope of sections 466 or 471.

Therefore, he prayed to the court that the impugned FIR No 13/17 dated 10-07-2017 U/S 466,471 PPC R/W section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 PS SIU, FIA Islamabad might be quashed and the FIR might be declared without jurisdiction, arbitrary, illegal, void, without lawful authority and of no legal effect.

He further requested that the respondents might be restrained from taking any adverse action pursuant to the FIR against him.