Pakistan court probes graft investigator's death



Islamabad: Pakistan's top court on Thursday opened an inquiry into the death of an official investigating a corruption scandal involving the prime minister, giving officials three days to submit documents. Kamran Faisal was found dead last Friday in a government hostel three days after the Supreme Court ordered the arrest of Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf over a long-running scandal into so-called Rental Power Plants (RPPs). The initial findings of an autopsy said Faisal committed suicide, but his family and some of his colleagues believe he was murdered.

Judge Jawwad Khawaja ordered police, the Pakistan Telecommunication Authority and Faisal's employer, anti-corruption watchdog the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), to submit documents related to the case by Saturday. Among information demanded are phone records of senior NAB officials, and records and CCTV footage of all meetings and events at NAB since January 15 -- the day that the Supreme Court ordered the prime minister's arrest.

Khawaja said it was important to determine whether there was any link between Faisal's death and the order that Ashraf and 15 other officials be arrested. "And all indications and evidences show that this unnatural death has a link with the case we were hearing. This is not an ordinary case," he said. "After the order dated January 15 in the Rental Power Plants (RPP) case, it also becomes important for the court to ascertain if there was an attempt to interfere into the proceedings of RPP case," he added.

Faisal's brother-in-law Hamid Munir, who also works at NAB, appeared before the court to complain that police had not registered a case into his death. "Whether its murder or suicide, we don't know, but the police should have registered the case," the judge said, adjourning the case until January 28. The long-running corruption probe relates to allegations of kickbacks during Ashraf's tenure as minister for water and power. NAB has suspended the investigation pending inquiries into Faisal's death.


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