SC forms committee to probe into alleged corruption in Thar coal power project

Sahiwal – The Supreme Court (SC) on Thursday ordered the formation of a committee to probe into alleged corruption in Thar coal power project.

A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Mian Saqib Nisar, heard a suo motu case pertaining to alleged corruption in Thar coal power project.

Dr Samar Mubarakmand, a nuclear physicist and chairman of the Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project in Thar, informed the court: “We set-up a 100MW plant at a cost of Rs8.8 billion under a Sindh government’s project. In October 2012, we received funding of Rs900 million and by 2014-15 the plant was generating 8MW.”

In response, the chief justice rebuked the chairman for praising the project: “Don’t praise your projects, we want to see what work you have done.” The bench inquired: “Why is only 8MW of power being generated when Rs3.4 billion have been spent on the underground gas project?”

The additional attorney general told the court that one project will generate 1,320MW of electricity and cost $1.9 billion while three projects of 300MW each are near completion at a cost of $1.77 billion.

Further, the additional attorney general told the bench, “Two plants operating on imported coal and generating 1,320MW of electricity have been set-up at Port Qasim and Sahiwal.”

The bench then ordered the formation of a committee to probe alleged corruption in the power project. “The committee will constitute experts on energy and scientists,” the bench said while adding that Salman Akram Raja and Shehzad Elahi have been appointed court advisers.

The top court also summoned a reply from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) regarding the investigation into the alleged corruption in the project. “NAB should inform us how the corruption that has been done in this project can be proven,” the bench stated.

The court also took issue with non-payment of salaries to employees at the power plant.

"Monitoring Desk"

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