KARACHI: Federal investigators have tightened the noose around Transparency International Pakistan chairman Adil Gilani after they gathered credible information that he was secretly in touch with absconding National Insurance Company Ltd board member Qasim Amin Dada.
Gilani has been summoned to appear before the inquiry officer in Lahore before January 10 after a series of contradictions were found in the statement he had earlier submitted to the agency.
Earlier Zafar Ahmad Qureshi, director of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in Lahore, reprimanded Gilani for claiming some credit for the recovery of Rs1.6 billion from the main accused in the multi-billion rupee NICL scam.
Disputing the claim in a written response, Qureshi said the recovery was only made possible through Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry and his backing for the investigators.
Gilani confirmed in a written statement to the FIA Lahore that Amin Dada and NICL finance director Zahoor had visited the TI-Pakistan office and had held a meeting with them. But he did not say why Dada had visited the office and what sort of discussions had taken place between them. NICL chairman Ayaz Khan Niazi and three board members in their statements to the FIA had alleged that after this meeting, Dada had brought an offer from Gilani to sign an MoU in exchange for a clean bill from him on their past deals.
Gilani drew more suspicion in the minds of the investigators when he used classified information – privy only to Dada – in his response to a set of questions, 22 in all, posed by the FIA director. After going over his responses, the FIA authorities came to the conclusion that Gilani was secretly in touch with the absconding NICL board member.
When Gilani told the FIA that Dada had quit the NICL board, the agency wanted to know how he knew this since neither its ex-chairman nor the commerce ministry were aware of that.
Subsequently the FIA bosses informed him that they were under the impression that he did not want to assist the investigation. Gilani has been told that he was being summoned in the light of statements of ex-chairman Ayaz Khan Niazi and three members of the board who had accused Dada of carrying an offer from TI.
Gilani was reminded that he had himself confirmed in an earlier statement that he did not know any NICL board members, including Niazi and had never met them or visited the NICL offices. Yet, the FIA officials pointed out, Gilani had admitted that Amin Dada and Zahoor had visited TI Pakistan and met him.
The FIA asked him that in the statement he had written that Dada had submitted his contentions to the FIA in which he did not state that TI Pakistan had asked him to get an MoU signed with the NICL. The agency wanted to know how he knew about what Dada had dispatched to the FIA when the man was still at large. “Are you still in touch with him?” the agency officials asked Gilani.
He has also been asked to explain one of his interviews with an English newspaper in which he had claimed that since the matter of a 803-kanal plot of land bought by NICL was in the Supreme Court, how could he have given the NICL a clean bill since it was already taken up by the apex court.
Investigation : More questions for Transparency chief
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has sent a second set of questionnaire to Chairman Transparency International (TI), Pakistan chapter, Syed Adil Gilani in the Rs5.9 billion National Insurance Company Limited (NICL) scam, The Express Tribune has learnt.
FIA Punjab Director Zafar Ahmad Qureshi has sent the second questionnaire to the TI Pakistan chief by post requesting an answer to the 18 questions at the earliest.
The FIA would like him to answer some new questions that have come up during the course of the investigation and further clarifications to clear up some ambiguities for the investigation team.
The FIA decided to include Gilani in the investigation after former NICL chairman, Ayyaz Niazi, implicated him in his confessional statement.
Three NICL board members have corroborated Niazi’s statement that their absconding colleague, Amin Qasim Dada, had offered to mediate on behalf of TI.
Subsequently, Director FIA contacted Adil Gilani for his side of the story. At Gilan’si refusal to travel to Lahore, the FIA sent him a list of 22 questions.
The counsel for the TI chief, Rana Asadullah Advocate has confirmed they were formulating replies for the second set of questions.
“As Gilani had pointed out the monetary misappropriation in NICL deals, the FIA should not harass his client while investigating the matter,” he said while talking to The Express Tribune.
Published in The Express Tribune, December 29th, 2010.