The whispering campaign against son of Chief Justice of Pakistan for allegedly taking bribes from a real estate tycoon finally came to an end with submission of formal statement by the accuser to the court on Tuesday.
According to media reports the real estate tycoon Malik Riaz Hussain submitted a statement in the Supreme Court stating that Dr Arsalan Iftikhar, the son of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudhry, allegedly accepted kickbacks and bribes worth over Rs 342.5 million (US$3.6 million).
A report of Hindustan Times about statement submitted to the apex court by Malik Riaz reads:
The tycoon (Malik Riaz) included copies of Arsalan’s passport, cheques, wire transfers, bank statements and tenancy agreements with his statement to back up his claims. He (Malik Riaz) said his son-in-law had paid all expenses for three trips made to London by Arsalan during 2010-11 and one visit to Monte Carlo in 2010. Arsalan was accompanied by an unidentified woman and a man during his trip to Monte Carlo, and 10,000 Euros were paid in cash for losses incurred by the Chief Justice’s son while gambling, the statement said.
It is pertinent to mention here that, in the first week of June, the Chief Justice had taken suo moto notice against his own son Arsalan Iftikhar and Malik Riaz Hussain, following allegations leveled against them on a private news channel.
According to The Express Tribune newspaper:
For the first time in the country’s judicial history, a son was summoned to the apex court by his father to probe a scandal that threatened the latter’s integrity.
However the Chief Justice detached himself from the case by quitting the three-member bench, headed by him, while hearing the case on June 07.
It is also important to mention here that Arsalan Iftikhar in his initial statement submitted with the Supreme Court rejected all allegations leveled against him by the real estate tycoon.
Malik Riaz, Chairman of Bahria Town was out of country and returned to Pakistan on Monday (June 11, 2012). During Monday’s hearing of the case the Supreme Court had directed Malik Riaz and his son Ali Riaz to file concise statement by Tuesday otherwise, the court said; it would be compelled to pass an order, reported The Nation newspaper.
A press conference by Malik Riaz after submitting the statement later on Tuesday evening remained hot topic in Pakistan with almost all TV channels having talk shows on his media talk. According to Dawn newspaper during the press conference, Malik Riaz raised various questions on the transparency of suo moto case and made claims that he met Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry in the presence of his son, Arsalan Iftikhar. “He said that the Chief Justice knew about the business dealings and should have taken suo moto action before the media broke this news”, the newspaper reported.
It is pertinent to mention the Chief Justice’s son alleged case of financial scam is a unique in history of Pakistani media since no mainstream media organization formally broke the news. There was literally whispering over the issue by journalists and anchorpersons.
It was actually disclosed by renowned Pakistani journalist Shaheen Sehbai in Washington Beat, what is stated to be a Washington based “hard hitting weekly discussion focusing on the latest news from Pakistan”. The video of the first ever episode of the programme of Washington Beat, appeared on YouTube on June 04, 2012 is available here.
There were also media reports that Malik Riaz had allegedly approached the Washington bureau chief of Sunday Times, journalist Christina Lamb, to break the news about the scandal when the Chief Justice was scheduled to come to receive the International Jurists Award- 2012.
However according to June 10 report of The Express Tribune the journalist Christina Lamb denied having contacted anyone regarding the financial impropriety case against the son of Chief Justice of Pakistan.