An accountability court has accepted Babar Awan’s plea for acquittal in Nandipur project corruption case. Along with the PTI’s stalwart, Justice (R) Riaz Kayani (former law secretary) has also been discharged from the case. However, similar pleas were filed by the former Prime Minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf along with Dr. Riaz Mehmood (former senior joint secretary of law) and Shumaila Mehmood (former research consultant at the Ministry of Law and Justice), was rejected by the court.
Babar Awan was nominated in the corruption case by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) last year over charges of causing a delay in the construction of the 525MW Nandipur Power Plant. Soon after the nomination, he presented his handwritten resignation to PM Imran Khan from the office of Prime Minister’s Adviser on Parliamentary Affairs. He also tweeted the proceedings as ”Just reached PM House to tender my resignation from Ministry of Parliamentary Affairs. Rule of Law begins with me. Thank you, Insafians for standing by me always. I will never let you down”
The project was approved by the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) back in 2007 at a cost of 329 million USD. Babar Awan, being the law minister from 2008 to 2012, could not provide the legal opinion as required by the water and power ministry with respect to the schedule of agreement in July 2009. The alleged delay of opinion had caused losses of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.
The project which is located near Gujranwala was completed at a cost of Rs.58.42 billion in 2015. The plant produced electricity at Rs.12 per unit, with less than 43% utilization. In order to make the project viable and to reduce annual losses, it was finally decided to convert the plant to (Regasified Liquefied Natural Gas) RLNG. After a stretched dispute with NEPRA and other controversies, the plant was finally converted to RLNG in 2017.