ISLAMABAD – The Supreme Court on Thursday ordered an investigation against renowned Pakistani nuclear scientist Dr Samar Mubarak Mand, and others for wasting billions in ‘not implementable’ Underground Coal Gasification (UCG) project in Thar.
A three-member bench, headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan Mian Saqib Nisar, has directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for investigating the accused in the light of an audit report submitted by the Auditor General of Pakistan earlier today.
The report revealed that the project is not ‘implementable’. At least Rs4.69 billion has been spent so far but no electricity was produced, the court was informed.
The chief justice remarked that the scientist had made big claims about providing free electricity to entire Pakistan through this projects but a heavy amount had been wasted instead.
He questioned, “Who will be held responsible for the wasted money? He commented, “Dr Mubarakmand is responsible”.
The scientist replied that Rs1bn was spent for preparing the feasibility report, adding that the government had given the go-ahead for it after seeing that his project was working.
The Deputy Attorney General, during the hearing, informed the court that the Sindh government was responsible for running the Thar project.
The court adjourned the case for an unspecified time period by directing the federal government to submit a report on the project in six weeks.
The employees of the project seeking payment of their salaries were asked to contact relevant authorities.
On Oct 18, the apex court had ordered the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to probe into the Thar coal power project, besides directing the auditor general to conduct the forensic audit of it.
On Oct 20, the former chairman Thar-Coal project had expressed the hope that he will regain glory after finalization of the audit reports.
Talking to a private channel, he said the Sindh government had got approval from the federal government for making the cheap electricity through Thar-Coal project adding that a huge quantity of coal was available in Sindh province.
‘We are confident that the audit team could not find any misappropriation or irregularities in fund utilization,’ he affirmed.
The scientist asserted that this was an 8.9 billion rupees project, which should have been completed in a stipulated time frame.