ISLAMABAD - The Supreme Court yesterday dismissed the review petition in the NICL scam and questioned how the National Accountability Bureau chairman could recover money from the accused when he himself was involved in a corruption case.

The top court had ordered action against NAB Chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry for creating hurdles in the investigation of the National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) case by transferring Zafar Qureshi, an investigation officer (IO) of Federal Investigation Agency, as secretary interior, and moving a summary of Ayyaz Niazi’s appointment as the NICL chairman when he was the commerce additional secretary.

In December 2013, a team probed the matter and cleared the incumbent chairman in the case of appointment of Ayyaz Niazi, a NAB spokesman told The Nation.

Justice Amir Hani Muslim, who was heading a three-judge bench, said: “When he (Qarmar Zaman) himself is facing contempt charges in the NICL case, how will he proceed against the corrupt people?”

The bench was hearing a review petition of Moonis Elahi, the main accused in the multi-billion rupees NICL case, against a Supreme Court judgment. The court, after hearing his counsel at length, dismissed the petition.

Moonis, the son of Pervaiz Elahi, was accused of receiving Rs 320 million in the NICL scam through bogus accounts. His manager Abdul Maalick, Rizwan Bhatti and Khalil Ahmad were also indicted in the case.

Waseem Sajjad advocate, representing Moonis, told the court that FIA in its report had cleared his client and there was no case against him. However, due to the judgment of the Supreme Court a case against him was pending in the NAB, he said.

Justice Hani said: “The way the FIA behaved in the NICL case has given the impression that it was protecting the culprits. “It is clear to everyone what the probe agency did and how the case was hushed up. Zafar Qureshi was transferred many times and Waqar Haider appointed as an IO to hamper progress in the case,” he added.

Qureshi, former FIA additional director general, was the head of the investigation team that probed the NICL scam. Later, he was detached from the investigation thrice.

“If criminals are more influential than an investigative officer, there are many problems for him,” Justice Azmat remarked.

Waseem Sajjad questioned why the report of FIA, which was accepted earlier by the court, was reopened. “The NAB could recover no money from Moonis,” he claimed.

According to the Supreme Court judgment, 1.38 million sterling pounds in Moonis’ account in London could not be recovered due to the transfer of Zafar Qureshi. Later, a new IO appointed by the FIA authorities gave a clean chit to Moonis.