Syed Mansoor Ali…………v......... Chairman NAB




              Mansoor Khan…………v………………………NAB




Khawaja Nouman……………..v………Federation of Pakistan & others


Present: Mr.Justice Muhammad Ali Mazhar

Mr.Justice Shahnawaz Tariq        



For katcha peshi


Date of hearing 25.7.2014


M/s Amir Haider Shah & Malik Muhammad Ejaz for the Petitioner in C.P. No.D-2820 of 2014


Syed Ghulam Hasnain, for the Petitioner in C.P.No.D-2918 of 2014.


M/s. Rauf Ahmed & Khurram Nizam for the Petitioner in C.P. No.D-3102 of 2014


Mr. Noor Muhammad Dayo, ADPG, NAB



Muhammad Ali Mazhar,J. Through these constitution petitions all the petitioners have applied for bail on the ground of statutory delay. Brief facts of the case are that Jamal Abdul Nasir, Deputy Director, Banking Policy & Regulations Department, State Bank of Pakistan sent a complaint against M/s.Nationwala Financial Services Company to FIA. FIA registered FIR No.04/2013 against accused persons Syed Zahid Ali, Muhammad Asad, Mansoor Khan and their family members and others under Sections 406/419/420/468/471/34 PPC read with 27/83 of BCO, 1962 and read with 3/4  of AML Act, 2010. After lodging the FIR, interim charge sheet was submitted in the Special Court (Offences in Banks), Sindh at Karachi. Meanwhile, the NAB Authorities filed an application under Section 16-A of NAB Ordinance, 1999 in the Special Court for transfer of case to the Accountability Court. On their application the case was transferred to the NAB Court. During pendency, the competent authority of the NAB authorized investigation and Mr. Najamuddin Junejo was appointed  Investigating Officer and thereafter Mr. Muhammad Nasir Shehzad, who submitted his investigation report. On the basis of investigation report supplementary challan was also submitted by the NAB on 19.3.2014 under Section 18 (g) read with Section 24 (b) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.


2. It is also a matter of record that the petitioners, Syed Mansoor Ali and Khawaja Nouman applied for bail in the trial court, which was dismissed and thereafter they filed their bail applications in this court, which were also dismissed by the Division Bench of this Court on the ground that no single document has been filed by the applicants to show their false implication in the case. It was further stated in the rejection order that sufficient material was collected by the FIA during enquiry thereafter FIR was registered. It was further stated that after recording the statement of 67 witnesses, final report was filed. The learned Division Bench has also observed that in the proceedings, the prosecution has to see the quality of the witnesses but not quantity, therefore, it is not necessary to examine all 67 witnesses. It was further observed that the bail application is to be decided on the basis of material collected by the prosecution. Finally it was held that from the tentative assessment of the material collected by the prosecution, the applicants are not entitled to be released on bail.


3. Petitioners, Syed Mansoor Ali and Khawaja Nouman have filed the above petitions for bail on the ground of statutory delay. The pre-arrest bail of the petitioner Syed Mansoor Ali was rejected by the Special Court (Offences in Banks) Sindh at Karachi on 11.6.2013 since then he is behind the bars. While the petitioner Khawaja Nouman is behind the bars since 29.5.2013 and the petitioner Mansoor Khan is behind the bars since 11.4.2013 and it is his first request of bail through this petition.


4. Now we would like to refer to the supplementary challan submitted by the NAB Authorities. The role of petitioner Syed Mansoor Ali and Khawaja Nouman is mentioned in paragraph 18 of the supplementary reference. According to the NAB both were Ex-Managers of MCB, Sakhi Hassan Branch. It is alleged that they failed to report suspicious transactions to MFU, SBP. By non-compliance of provisions of AML Act, 2010 and not obtaining information about the source of funds they allowed the accused persons Syed Zahid Ali and others to continue their illegal business, hence they arrested Syed Zahid Ali and others in commission of offence. It was further stated that accused Khawaja Nouman and Syed Mansoor Ali committed offence of abetment as defined under Section 9 (a) (xii) of NAB Ordinance, 1999 and they are liable to be punished under section 10 of the above Ordinance. So far as petitioner Mansoor Khan is concerned, nothing specifically stated against him except in paragraph 14 that accused persons Syed Zahid Ali, Muhammad Asad, Abid Hussain, Muhammad Sami, Mansoor Khan, Khawaja Nouman, Syed Mansoor, Sami Ahmed and Naheed Jamal in connivance with each other were running illegal business of variable profit in the name and style of M/s Nationwala Financial Services Company, thus they cheated innocent and general public at large and they committed an offence under section 9 (a) (x) of NAB Ordinance, 1999 and criminal breach of trust.


5. According to the petitioner Mansoor Khan, he was serving as Driver in M/s Nationwala Publications (Pvt.) Limited and he has nothing to do with the affairs of the company. It was further stated that he is sole bread earner of his family and he was leading a poor life. The Director of the company Zahid Ali gave him an offer that if he will bring the investment, Zahid Ali will give him the commission and if he will directly invest the amount, he will be given more profit as per market practice. According to his counsel Mansoor Khan himself invested a sum of Rs.300,000/- after the selling the gold ornaments of his wife.


6. Since petitioners have applied for bail on the ground of statutory delay, hence we would like to see what is the stage and progress of the case in the trial court and whether any delay is attributable to the petitioners or not, which is the prime factor, ought to have been considered before allowing the bail to any person on the ground of statutory delay.


7. The learned ADPG, NAB submitted that there are 150 witnesses and against some of the accused persons proceedings under Sections 87 and 88 Cr.P.C. have been initiated and the Investigating Officer was directed to submit report in the court. However, he admits that still the trial court has not framed the charge and he is unable to give any exact date when prosecution will produce all the witnesses in court and trial will be concluded. He further submitted that this is all a procedural delay, but fact remains that all the petitioners are behind the bars for more than one year, but still the charge has not been framed, so it cannot be definitely stated how much time will be consumed for concluding the trial.  


8. One more important aspect has been argued by Mr. Amir Haider Shah, learned counsel for the petitioner Syed Mansoor Ali, to the effect of transfer of case under Section 16-A of NAO 1999. It was averred that under the letters of law, it is clear that the Chairman, NAB may apply to any court for transfer of a case to a court established under the NAB Ordinance and if any such case or proceedings are transferred to any court established under the NAB Ordinance, it shall be deemed to be a reference under Section 18 of the Ordinance and it shall not be necessary for the court to recall any witness again to record any evidence. On the contrary, the ADPG, NAB submitted that the FIA did not submit the final challan and only interim challan was submitted, therefore, the NAB could initiate investigation in this case. He further submitted that even under Section 18, NAB can initiate the proceedings on receiving of a complaint. Since more than one year has been passed but all the petitioners are behind the bars without any progress in the trial and even the charge has not been framed so far, therefore, all the learned counsel for the petitioners made a request that the petitioners may be enlarged on bail on the ground of statutory delay.


9. The Honourable Supreme Court of Pakistan in Civil Petition No.620-K/2011 (Syed Maqsood Ahmed v. The State through NAB and another) considered the ground of statutory delay provided under Section 497 of Cr.P.C and held as under:-


“7.Reverting to the proceedings of the case at hand before the Accountability Court, we find there is no denial of the fact that even before framing of charge, for no fault on his part, the petitioner remained in judicial custody for a period of over 11 months and even thereafter, as discussed above, for delay in the proceedings of the case for a period of over nine months, he is not responsible to the extent that he can be denied the benefit of above reproduced provision of law, which entitles him for grant of bail if he had remained in continuous custody for a period exceeding one year, as in the instant case.”


10. We have also considered the ground of statutory delay in another petition bearing No.D-505/2014, in which also bail was allowed in the similar circumstances. In the judgment reported in PLD 2003 Karachi 393 (Jamil A. Durrani V.S The State), it was held that accused was in jail for the last more than 19 months and trial was not within sight within near future, bail cannot be withheld as a punishment and nobody could be kept in jail for an indefinite period. In that case also the accused was granted bail. In the case reported in 2002 S.C.M.R 282 (Mohammad Saeed Mehdi V.S State & others), the honourable Supreme Court dilated upon the preamble of the NAB Ordinance and Section 16 of the said Ordinance and held that object of the Ordinance as contained in its preamble is to provide expeditious trial of scheduled offences within shortest possible time, which position is re-assured in Section 16 of the said Ordinance postulating day to day trial of the case and its conclusion within 30 days. It was further held that object of criminal trial is to make the accused face the trial and not punish an under trial prisoner for the offence alleged against him. Basic idea is to enable the accused to answer the criminal prosecution against him rather than to rot him behind the bars. Accused is entitled to expeditious access to justice, which includes a right to fair and expeditious trial without any unreasonable delay.


11. The basic idea is to enable the accused to answer criminal prosecution against him rather than to rot him behind the bar. Accused is entitled to expeditious  access to justice, which includes a right to fair and expeditious trial without any unreasonable delay. In the judgment reported in 2012 YLR 477, (Zameer v. State, authored by one of us Muhammad Ali  Mazhar, J.) the grant of bail on statutory ground as provided under Section 497 Cr.P.C. was discussed in detail and it was held that expeditious and fair trial is fundamental right of accused persons. The intention of law is that the criminal case must be disposed of without unnecessary delay it will not be difficult to comprehend that inordinate delay in imparting justice was likely to cause erosion of public confidence in the judicial system on one hand and on the other hand, it was bound to create a sense of helplessness, despair feelings of frustration and anguish apart from adding to their woes and miseries. Awesome guidance in the National Judicial Policy 2009 is provided to ensure its due implementation with dynamic approach within the prescribed time. Provision for seeking bail on the ground of statutory delay has been revived through a proviso added in Sub-section (1) of Section 497 Cr.P.C. which stipulates that the court shall, except where it is of the opinion that the delay in the trial of the accused has been occasioned by an act or  omission of the accused or any other person acting on his behalf, direct that any person shall be released on bail who being accused of any offence not punishable with death has been detained for such offence for a continuous period exceeding one year or in case of a woman exceeding six months in whose trial for such offence has not concluded. The aforesaid provision is fully applicable to the case of above petitioners and the similar provision has been quoted by the hon’ble Supreme Court in the case of Syed Maqsood Ahmed supra whereby the bail was granted in the NAB case.


12. As a result of above discussion, the petitioners Syed Mansoor Ali, Khawaja Nouman and Mansoor Khan are granted bail in Reference No.61/2013 subject to furnishing solvent surety in the sum of Rs.500,000/- (Rupees Five-Hundred Thousand only) each and PR bond in the like amount to the satisfaction of the Nazir of this Court. The trial Court is also directed to expedite the trial and conclude the same within a period of six [06] months. The petitions stand disposed of.