17. Plea Bargain : Appellant was arrested by NAB due to non-payment of loan of Rs.4,67,30,823 (Principal amount)During NAB’s custody a settlement was affected by appellant with Punjab Cooperative Board for Liquidation through a written agreement which was duly approved by co-operative Judge – Pursuant to this agreement, Chairman NAB filed application before Accountability Court wherein it was prayed that appellant be released as ‘he is not wanted in any other case under NAB Ordinance – Order was in the following words ‘Request of NAB, being quite reasonable and justified, is allowed and accused, is released on interim basis subject to disqualification of Section 15 of NAB Ordinance, 1999 – Not satisfied with afore-referred order, which stipulated appellant’s disqualification in terms of Section 15 of NAB Ordinance, 1999 appellant moved an application before trial Court to pass a fresh order as he had not been heard but Accountability Court dismissed said application – In support of appeal learned counsel for appellant has made following submission : – (i) That learned trial Court has failed to appreciate that appellant had not entered into plea bargaining in terms of Section 25 of Ordinance 1999; (ii) That application of Chairman NAB before learned Accountability Court was not under Section 25 of NAB Ordinance and there was no prayer in said application to disqualify appellant-Application filed by learned Additional Deputy Prosecutor General before learned trial Court was, therefore, misconceived and Court fell in error in accepting same; (iii) That Chairman NAB has power under Section 9-C of NAB Ordinance to release a person arrested under NAB Ordinance without any condition whatsoever and appellant was being released under said provision. (iv) That order was passed behind back of appellant and he has been condemned unheard. Held: (i) That Chairman NAB can release a person arrested section under Section 9of Ordinance, without intervention of Court provided an interim or final report under Section 173 Cr. P. C. against accused in question, had not been filed in learned trial Court, latter has not deposited any dues or asset with NAB and he has not signed any agreement of plea-bargain with it; (ii) The application filed by Chairman NAB before learned Accountability Court for release of appellant, as a request for release of appellant under Section 9of Ordinance as it neither spoke of a plea-bargain agreement between appellant and NAB authorities nor it requested for his disqualification in terms of Section 15 of Ordinance; (iii) The release of an accused under Section 9and Section 25 of NAB Ordinance stipulate two distinct conditions precedent and have distinct consequences as well – Former being a release or discharge simplicitor and latter visualizing consequence of disqualification; (iv) Since provisions of Criminal Procedure Code have been made applicable mutatis mutandis, release under Section 9of NAB Ordinance would be a ‘discharge’ under Section 63 of Cr. P. C. This order of ‘discharge’ would not terminate or cancel investigation qua accused in whose favour order has been passed; (v) A person discharged under Section 9of Ordinance read with Section 63 of Cr. P. C. . can always be associated with investigation by concerned Investigation Agency at any stage without permission of Court; (vi) If at a subsequent stage investigating agency needs custody of accused, who stands released/discharged under afore-referred provisions of law, he can be arrested and taken into custody but with permission of Court
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