ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to take action against nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarakmand and others responsible for losses caused to the national exchequer in Thar coal gasification project.A three-member bench of the apex court, headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar, referred the project to the anti-corruption watchdog, with instructions to investigate the individuals involved in light of the final audit report of the project, which was presented by the auditor general of Pakistan in the court.The court on October 18 had ordered a forensic audit of the Thar coal project, directing the NAB to probe the matter and submit a report within 15 days. The court had also sought a response from the Sindh government on the implementation of a report’s recommendations to avert environmental threats from the project.During the hearing, the court deemed that the Thar coal project was not ‘implementable’ and had caused a heavy financial loss to the country. The top judge remarked that Dr Mubarakmand had claimed Pakistan would get free electricity from the project but over Rs 4 billion had been wasted instead. “Samar Mubarakmand is responsible for this loss,” the chief justice said. “He had made big claims but now he will have 20 excuses. Who will be held accountable for the billions of rupees that were spent?”Dr Mubarakmand, in his defence, said that Rs 1 billion was spent on the feasibility study, adding that the project was approved after the government had “seen for itself that my project was operating.”The deputy attorney general, meanwhile, told the court that until now an amount of Rs 4.69 billion have been spent on the Thar coal project but electricity was yet to be generated. “It was Sindh government’s responsibility to run this project,” he reminded the bench. The court instructed the federal government to furnish its report on the Thar coal project within six weeks before adjourning the case till an unspecified date.Published in Daily Times, December 7th 2018.