ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court on Friday dissolved the Suddle Commission after it presented its report over the alleged business deal worth of Rs342 million between business tycoon Mlaik Riaz Hussain and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry.
A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Jawad S Khawaja, heard the Arsalan Iftikhar case in which the commission’s report was presented. The court ordered that the findings of the report be made public.
The Supreme Court also wrapped the proceedings of the case and stated this was an issue between two individuals and they could take up the matter in any forum.
On August 30, 2012, the Supreme Court had formed one-man Judicial Commission, headed by former police official and incumbent Federal Tax Ombudsman Dr Shoiab Suddle, to probe the alleged business deal worth of Rs342 million between Malik Riaz Hussain and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.
Dr Arsalan had been accused of receiving between Rs300 and Rs400 million from real estate tycoon Malik Riaz to influence judicial proceedings.
The one-man commission was given full judicial power under the Supreme Court Rules 1980 and authorised to collect evidences either at local level or internationally, by using the state machinery and directed to submit its findings within 30 days.
In its preliminary report, the Suddle Commission has implicated Dr Arsalan and Malik Riaz in massive tax evasion of Rs51.3 million and Rs119.4 billion respectively, recommending the imposition of penalty for concealment of assets in wealth statements filed with income tax returns.
The report of the commission has accused Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Salman Khan, Ahmed Khalil and other key witnesses of this graft case for non-cooperation. The commission further declares that Arsalan Iftikhar will be brought to justice if Malik Riaz cooperates in establishing even the fraction of probable cause of receiving money as alleged.
The commission observed that there will be zero tolerance for any misconduct on his part, as being the son of the chief justice, it is absolutely critical that the highest standards of integrity set by the chief justice are not allowed to be compromised under any circumstances.
Meanwhile, after the court ordered to dissolve the Suddle Commission with the direction to make the report public, Dr Arsalan, while talking to reporters outside the Supreme Court, said that he had already said that the allegations, levelled against him by Malik Riaz were baseless and having no truth.
Even in six months, evidences were not produced for the allegations, levelled against him, Dr Arsalan said, adding that he had submitted a 200-page statement to the commission regarding allegations levelled by Malik Riaz. He further said that he presented himself for accountability.
Dr Arsalan further said he is a responsible citizen and had not evaded any tax, adding that Malik Riaz had not sponsored his foreign tours but he travelled at his own expenses.
To a question, Dr Arsalan said that he would file damages suit against Malik Riaz after consulting his legal team, adding that it would be the biggest damages suit in the history of the country.
Zahid Bukhari, counsel for Malik Riaz, while talking to media in the Supreme Court, however, said that the allegations of Mlaik Riaz against Dr Arsalan were accurate. He said that his client had been raising objections over the legality of the commission from day one. He further said that his client’s objection on the commission’s report had been noted by the court. He said now they have options to go to any criminal or civilian forum.
Online adds: The bench stated that the court had taken a notice of this issue when the judiciary was dragged into the matter but since that had not been proven; the commission was no longer needed.
During the hearing, Zahid Bukhari said that the matter was between two individuals and did not involve corruption from the national exchequer.Zahid Bukhari requested the bench to stop the commission’s proceedings so that whichever party wanted to take whatever legal recourse, they may approach the concerned avenues in this regard.
Speaking to media representatives on the premises of the Supreme Court, Zahid Bokhari said justice had prevailed.Zahid Bukhari added that the Shoaib Suddle commission had no authority to investigate the funds of Bahria Town.