Tender of pardon to accomplice during investigation or inquiry-Petitioners were aggrieved of the order of the Accountability Court and had assailed the said order praying to declare the pardon granted to the co-accused/approver by Chairman NAB as illegal and without lawful authority-Contention of the petitioners was that under S.26 of the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999, the Chairman NAB could exercise his powers of tendering pardon only when the case was at the stage of investigation or inquiry and that after the reference was submitted in the Accountability Court, the Chairman became functus officio-Validity-Reference against the petitioners and the co-accused was filed by the Chairman, NAB on 30-12-2000- Co-accused made application for becoming an approver to NAB Authorities on 8-1-2001 and he was granted pardon by the Chairman NAB on 24-2-2001-Statement of co-accused under S.164, Cr.P.C. was recorded by Judicial Magistrate on 20-3-2001-Charge against accused was framed on 16-1-2002-Statement of sixteen prosecution witnesses including examination-in-chief of the co-accused was completed on 21-6-2002 when on the same date application was moved by counsel for the petitioners for supply of copies of the application moved by co-accused to be an approver, reasons recorded by the Chairman NAB for tendering pardon and statement of the co-accused under S.164, Cr.P.C. read with S.26 of the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, and thus all such copies should have been made part of the reference and also supplied to the petitioners under S.265-C, Cr.P.C. at least seven days prior to framing of charge-Supply of copies of proceedings qua tender of pardon after the statement of some of the witnesses and the examination-in-chief of the co-accused was violative of law as without any notice to the remaining accused, co-accused was made approver and transformed as prosecution witness-No order on file of the competent forum allowing the approver to be taken out from the jail for recording his statement under S.164, Cr.P.C.-No opportunity of cross-examining the approver was afforded to the petitioners as required under S.164(1)(a), Cr.P.C., resultantly same could not be used against the petitioners under S.265-J, Cr.P.C,-Grant of pardon to the co-accused under S.26 of the National Accountability Bureau Ordinance, 1999 by the Chairman NAB without approval of the Trial Court being illegal, without lawful authority and void ab initio, same was set aside by the High Court-High Court directed that examination-in-chief of the co-accused as well as his statement under S.164, Cr.P.C, were not to be considered as part of prosecution evidence.
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