Malik Riaz let off over alleged tax evasion

Malik Riaz exiting supremecort

ISLAMABAD: President Asif Ali Zardari dismissed the report submitted by the Suddle Commission in the Arsalan Iftikhar case, and has given property magnate Malik Riaz Hussain a clean chit in a suspected tax evasion of Rs 119.4 billion, according to a Daily Times report by the Daily Times Monitor.

The president accepted Malik Riaz’s representation, and dismissed the much questioned December 4, 2012 decision made by the federal tax ombudsman (FTO), the Monitor stated in its article citing reports containing references to official Presidency documents.

The Suddle Commission had been formed by the Supreme Court in order to probe an alleged Rs 342 million business deal between Malik Riaz and the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar.

The commission had incriminated Malik Riaz in a colossal tax evasion that amounted to Rs 119.4 billion, and proposed that a penalty for concealment of assets in wealth statements filed with income tax returns be enforced on the property tycoon in its interim results.

The documents cited by the Daily Times Monitor also stated that a joint representation questioning a suo motu order passed by the FTO had been filed by Malik Riaz and the principal officer of Bahria Town (Pvt.) Ltd, under Section 14(I) of the Federal Ombudsman Institutional Reform Act 2013. This was concurrently corroborated by the presidential order, which suggested that the representation had indeed been filed.

The notice and the representation explained that the suo motu case concerning an alleged business deal between Malik Riaz and Dr Arsalan Iftikhar – an attempt to influence the judicial process – was disposed of by the Supreme Court on June 14, 2012, and the attorney general of Pakistan was subsequently directed to set the state machinery in motion in order to ensure that “all those who may have committed any illegal acts, including Malik Riaz, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar and Salman Ali Khan, are pursued and brought to book with full force and rigour of the law”.

The attorney general wrote to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) chairman regarding the matter on June 18, 2012. Subsequently, Dr Arsalan Iftikhar filed CRP No 167/2012, which was allowed by the apex court on August 30, 2012. The FTO was appointed as a one-man commission, who was expected to hold an inquiry into the matter.

According to the documents, the commission had submitted three interim reports. After the third report was received, it was noted that it was no longer necessary for the commission to proceed further in the inquiry, and the matter was therefore disposed of.

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