Pak CJ begins proceedings against son in graft case

Islamabad: Pakistan`s Supreme Court Chief Justice Iftikhar Chaudhry today initiated suo motu proceedings against his son Arsalan Iftikhar following allegations in the media that he was paid up to Rs 400 million by a real estate tycoon to influence cases in the apex court.

A three-judge bench led by the Chief Justice began hearing the matter this morning. The Pakistani capital had been abuzz with reports of improper links between the Chief Justice`s son and Malik Riaz Hussain, the real estate tycoon and one of the country`s richest men.

The apex court took suo moto notice of the issue late last night after several TV news channels reported the alleged links between Iftikhar and Hussain.

During the proceedings, Attorney General Irfan Qadir objected to the Chief Justice`s inclusion in the bench, saying it amounted to conflict of interest.

The Chief Justice took note of the Attorney General`s objection and pledged that anyone, including his son, who affected the dignity of the apex court would not be spared. The Chief Justice said if allegations against his son were proved true, he would be punished in accordance with the law.

The Chief Justice directed the parties involved in the case to produce evidence in the court by tomorrow.

A statement issued by the Supreme Court said it had taken note of reports on various TV channels about an alleged business deal between Hussain and Iftikhar "with a view to influence the judicial process".

"It is reported that the said Malik Riaz Hussain paid 300400 million rupees to Arsalan and also sponsored his foreign visits.

"It is alleged that these favours were extended to Arsalan so as to influence his father, the Chief Justice of Pakistan, to have a soft corner for Malik Riaz Hussain and get favours in his cases pending before the Supreme Court," the statement said.