RAWALPINDI, May 30: A Special Court on Wednesday indicted former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi and two others in the Haj corruption case.
The court also declared Ahmed Faiz, an alleged middleman, as proclaimed offender in the case.
Special Judge Central Khalid Shabbir framed charges against Mr Kazmi, former joint secretary of the ministry of religious affairs Aftabul Islam Raja and former director general of Haj Rao Shakeel under sections 109, 409, 420, 468, 471 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 5 (2) 1947 of the Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) for fraud, cheating, misuse of authority and causing loss to the national exchequer and the public at large.
The accused, however, denied the charges and sought a trial.
The former minister faces the charge of criminal negligence and of issuing directions for preparing the passport and travel documents of the middleman Ahmed Faiz, who was working as the building supervisor without any salary with the hiring committee comprising Rao Shakeel, Aftabul Islam Raja and the then Pakistan’s Ambassador to Saudi Arabia.
Former DG of Haj Rao Shakeel and JS Raja are facing charges of renting 87 substandard buildings at faraway locations and on higher rents and receiving kickbacks and commission.
Under the Haj policy of 2010, the hiring committee could rent a building by giving an advance of 15 per cent, but they paid 55 per cent rent in advance, the charge-sheet said.
After the indictment of the accused, the court adjourned the hearing till June 5.
Talking to journalists outside the court, Mr Kazmi said he had been unnecessarily dragged into the Haj corruption scam.
He said the list of witnesses in the case did not include the name of former minister Azam Swati on whose statement the suo motu action had been taken against him.
Mr Swati had taken the Haj corruption case in the Supreme Court which forced the government to sack the minister.
Mr Kazmi said he had filed a case against Mr Swati seeking damages from him.
He said the court did not have grounds to frame charges against him and to indict him and that he would challenge the indictment as the prosecution itself had admitted that they could not find any evidence against him and failed to establish his link with the scam.