NAB clears Zardari, Sharif and others of involvement in 2006 sugar crisis

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Islamabad, Sep 26(ANI): The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has submitted a revised report to the Supreme Court which clears Pakistan President Asif Ali Zardari, Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) chief Nawaz Sharif and several other leaders from involvement in a sugar crisis that hit Pakistan in 2006.

"I have submitted a fresh report and informed Chief Justice Iftikhar Mohammad Chaudhry that NAB had neither conducted any such inquiry nor submitted any inquiry report before the apex court in the past," The Dawn quoted General Abdul Basir Qureshi, NAB's Additional Prosecutor, as saying.

"NAB had already informed the Supreme Court through a letter in 2006 that it had not conducted a proper investigation into the sugar crisis," he added.

Though the preliminary report by the bureau had held Zardari and others responsible for the crisis, but Qureshi said: "The wing compiled the information from newspapers and other secondary sources about the state of stocks and annual demand and supply of sugar."

The revised report also states that NAB's awareness and prevention wing was asked to hold a fact-finding preliminary probe into the cause of a rise in sugar price in the country and to suggest remedial and preventive measures.

Qureshi also said that the fact-finding inquiry was halted after an impression was created by some quarters that it was contributing to escalation of sugar prices.

"In my latest report, I have informed the court that during investigation of an illegal assets case against Zardari, NAB had not found any sugar mills belonging to him," he added.

This is not the first time that sugar scandal has been raised in Pakistan. During former President General Musharraf's regime sugar prices had touched the then peak of 35 rupees per kilogram.

A probe was ordered against the political big wigs close to the Musharraf government at that time. However, charges were dropped later on Musharraf's personal request.

Observers believe that the current scam would also subside with time forcing Pakistanis to spend much more during the festive season. (ANI)

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