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Record tampering case: IHC approves Ex-SECP chairman’s plea for hearing

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday accepted a plea for hearing filed by Former Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) chairman Zafar Hijazi, seeking the bench to quash the record tampering case. 

Hijazi through his counsel petitioned the high court earlier this month, challenging a special court’s dismissal of his acquittal plea in the Chaudhry Sugar Mills record-tampering case.

He argued in his petition that the special court passed over the evidences presented in his plea and pleaded the IHC to declare the former’s decision null and void.

In his petition, Hijazi also contended that the case was instituted against him on the basis of statements given by four SECP officials who accused him of pressuring them into tampering with the record of the Sharif family’s companies.

Four prosecution witnesses in the case were also SECP officers, but they laid the entire blame at his door, he submitted.

The court is to conduct hearing into the former chairman’s petition on December 20.

Earlier, a special court of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had dismissed an application of the former SECP boss seeking his acquittal in the case.

Judge Iram Niazi noted that there was sufficient evidence to proceed against Hijazi in the case.

On Oct 27, the court had framed charges against the accused, which he denied and maintained that he did not alter the company’s record.

The former SECP chairman, who is out on bail, has been booked in the case in the wake of the Supreme Court’s order in the Panama Papers case for allegedly tampering with financial records of the Sharif family’s company.

The FIA took Hijazi into custody in July, after a report released by the Panamagate Joint Investigation Team (JIT) alleged that the former SECP chairman had altered records related to the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

It found Zafar Hijazi guilty of record tampering and recommended criminal proceedings against him and two of his subordinates – Ali Azeem and Maheen Fatima – under Section  466, 472, PPC read with 5(2) Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) 1947.

SECP Director Maheen Fatima had accused the SECP chairman of exerting pressure on her to blame the Panamagate JIT of misbehaving with her during an interrogation session.

In her statement to the probing team, she asserted that the money laundering investigation against Chaudhry Sugar Mills was closed on the chairman’s directives.

The director had further accused the chairman of threatening her with dire consequences including transfer to Gilgit-Baltistan on defiance of his orders.

The Panamagate JIT had previously complained to the top court that SECP had allegedly tampered with the record, apparently to favour the Sharif family who owns the Chaudhry Sugar Mills.

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