Pakistani wanted for Rs.82 bn gas scam held in UAE

Pakistani wanted for Rs.82 bn gas scam held in UAE

The main accused in a Rs.82 billion scam in Pakistan's Oil and Gas Regulatory Authority (OGRA) has been arrested in Abu Dhabi with the help of Interpol, after the man hid from the law for eight months.

Former OGRA chairman Tauqeer Sadiq was arrested Wednesday, an official of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) told the Dawn.

An NAB team would leave for Abu Dhabi Thursday to obtain his custody.

Arrest warrants for Sadiq were issued in May last year.

Media reports earlier said Sadiq first took refuge in the presidency while some said he was hiding in the Governor's House in Lahore. Raids were conducted at many places to arrest him but without any success.

Along with Sadiq, three other OGRA officials -- member (gas) Mansoor Ali Muzaffar, member (finance) Mir Kamal Farid Bijarani Muree and Jawad Jamil, staff officer to the former chairman -- are accused of misusing authority and embezzling funds, causing a loss of Rs.82 billion to the national exchequer.

The accused allegedly relocated several CNG stations and made illegal appointments, the Dawn said.

In November last year, the Supreme Court declared Sadiq's appointment as OGRA chairman illegal, and
ordered the NAB to investigate corruption charges against him.

The apex court also observed that five people, including Prime Minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, were involved in Sadiq's appointment.

The court has asked the authorities how Sadiq managed to escape if his name was on the "Exit Control List" and in the presence of CCTV cameras at airports.

Sadiq has written a letter to the cabinet committee investigating the case that he has been made a victim of baseless allegations.