Probe into sugar scam: Rizwan remains part of FIA team with drastically curtailed role

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Shafaqna Pakistan: Senior police officer Muhammad Rizwan’s role in the probe against Jahangir Tareen in relation to the mega sugar scam being carried out by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has been significantly curtailed but the officer has not been removed from the team of designated investigators.

“Muhammad Rizwan continues to be part of the panel but he is no longer its chief as he had been since the investigations into the sugar scandal had started,” a senior official, privy to the development, told The News. He said that Abu Bakr Khuda Bakhsh was now the head of the sugar inquiry but Muhammad Rizwan is still a part of it.

This, in effect, means that Muhammad Rizwan is no longer in a position to take independent decisions as far as this investigation is concerned, he said. The official said that both Abu Bakr Khuda Bakhsh and Muhammad Rizwan were known to be men of integrity and enjoy a good reputation. “They are the ‘prodigies’ of a senior federal office-holder, who gives them various important assignments,” he said.

Mohammad Rizwan used to be a favourite of the former Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif. During his tenure, he had been posted as the police chief of Sargodha, Dera Ghazi Khan, Jhang, Multan and Islamabad.

However, while working as the head of the FIA team inquiring into the sugar scam, Muhammad Rizwan has shown no leniency to Shahbaz Sharif and dealt with him sternly. Quoting unnamed official sources, it was reported a day before a meeting with the prime minister of pro-Tareen federal and Punjab lawmakers belonging to the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) that Muhammad Rizwan had been removed as the chief FIA investigator of the sugar scam. The supporters of the estranged PTI leader had demanded that Rizwan be removed because he was ‘biased and partisan’ towards Tareen.

Raja Riaz and other pro-Tareen lawmakers announced after the session with the prime minister that their demand to show the door to Mohammad Rizwan had been accepted.

However, the fact is that the officer remains in the investigating squad but he is not its head and works under Abu Bakr Khuda Bakhsh, who has to his credit the investigation of a number of high profile cases in the past.

The prime minister has confirmed that Muhammad Rizwan has not been removed from the FIA team but he has not stated that the officer has been made subordinate to another official. Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid has repeatedly said that the prime minister’s aide on accountability Shahzad Akbar is looking after the FIA as far as it is handling of the sugar scandal inquiry is concerned. The FIA team investigating the scam has been directly reporting to Shahzad Akbar.

To assuage the estranged pro-Tareen legislators, the prime minister tasked another aide, Senator Ali Zafar, to see that no injustice or discrimination was done to the disgruntled leader. Ali Zafar has started meeting the concerned parties to listen to their point of view and present his report to the premier.

Interestingly, none of the three FIRs registered against Tareen and his son covered the sugar scam. The Tareens have so far been charged with money laundering. However, new cases could be lodged on this matter after the investigations are completed.

Source: The News