Verdict in Babar Awan acquittal plea deferred till May 15

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Verdict in Babar Awan acquittal plea deferred till May 15

ISLAMABAD: An accountability court in Islamabad on Monday once again deferred the announcement of its reserved ruling on Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Babar Awan’s acquittal plea in the Nandipur Power Project reference till May 15.
Judge Arshad Malik was expected to announce the verdict during today’s (Monday) hearing; however the hearing was cancelled without any action as the judge was on leave.
Now, the arguments on petitions filed on behalf of other accused persons in the same case will be heard on May 15. Meanwhile, the hearing of the case was adjourned until May 22.
Awan, who had served as the federal minister for law and justice in the cabinet of former premier Yousaf Raza Gillani, had claimed that two summaries were submitted to the law ministry for the project but he wasn’t the law minister then. He had said that his name is not mentioned anywhere in the reference filed by NAB.
On Feb 11, the court reserved its decision on the acquittal plea after Awan and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor concluded their arguments.
The Nandipur power project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee on Dec 27, 2007, at a cost of $329 million.
After the approval, the contract was signed on Jan 28, 2008, between the Northern Power Generation Company Limited and the Dong Fang Electric Corporation, China. Two consortiums — Coface for 68.967m euros and Sinosure for $150.151m — were set up for financing the project.
The water and power ministry sought legal opinion on the project from the law ministry in accordance with the schedule of the agreement in July 2009, but the accused repeatedly refused to do so.
The water and power ministry also failed to take any concrete steps to resolve the issue and the matter remained pending.
According to NAB, the legal opinion was issued in November 2011 after Mr Awan was replaced as the law minister.

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