Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Thursday expressed resentment over delay in the probe of Nandipur power project corruption scandal. A three-member bench headed by the chief justice conducted hearing into a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Asif in 2011 against allegations of corruption in the construction of 525-megawatt combined cycle power plant at Nandipur in Gujranwala. As the hearing started, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor informed the court that the inquiry against Nandipur power project was pending. “Since when has the inquiry been pending?” the chief justice inquired, as he summoned details of other references pending with the anti-graft bureau. The NAB prosecutor apprised the court that the inquiry began on February 20, 2017, however, the law ministry delayed it by two years. “The inquiry is in its final stages,” he said, and informed the bench that the probe into outsourcing the power project commenced in June this year. “How many inquiries, in total, are pending with NAB?” the chief justice inquired. “We have to determine who is responsible for wrapping up all pending inquiries. Is NAB unaccountable for all these delays?” The top judge then ordered the bureau to check if its former chairman Qamar Zaman Chaudhry was in Islamabad to appear before the court. “Let us take up a case against the former NAB chairman over delay,” the chief justice said. Expressing his annoyance with the prolonged time taken to wrap up cases, the chief justice remarked that strict action will be taken against any inquiry officer found guilty of delaying corruption inquires. “Cases are shelved after they are opened but this cannot continue. An inquiry should be taken up only if it has substantial weight, otherwise people cannot be left hanging,” he said. During the proceedings, former NAB chief Qamar Zaman Chaudhry appeared before the court. “You have given many concessions during your time. With so many cases left pending during your tenure, let us order an inquiry against you,” the chief justice said to Chaudhry. The Supreme Court then summoned a list of all the cases pending with the bureau during Chaudhry’s tenure as NAB chief. Report of Justice Rehmat Hussain Jafri on the Nandipur project was also submitted in the court. According to it, the national exchequer suffered a loss of Rs 113 billion due to negligence of the then federal law ministry for causing delay in giving necessary approval and completing documents for the execution of 950-megawatt power generation projects of Nandipur and Chicho-Ki-Malian. Khawaja Asif while responding to the queries of chief justice said, “I want the reference to be filed. The delay in the project has caused a loss of Rs 27 billion.” Nandipur power project was established in 2005 to generate 525 megawatts of electricity. It was estimated to cost Rs 22 billion but it went up to Rs 58 billion due to delays. Published in Daily Times, August 10th 2018.