PESHAWAR: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) insists that the ongoing investigation against Khyber Pakhtunkhwa Directorate of Archaeology and Museums Director Dr Abdul Samad are being carried out as he faces serious allegations of misplacement of antiques and statues worth millions of dollars.

In a statement, the NAB said a PhD degree holder is also equally answerable before the law and corruption cannot be allowed on any pretext. The statement says a campaign has been initiated by the sympathisers of Dr Samad to hinder the nAB’s efforts to bring culprits to justice. It says illegal appointment of Class-IV employees cannot be exempted from corruption.

The NAB alleged that the accused is involved in misappropriation of antiques, sculptures and other valuables of antiquity, which is being investigated by a team of highly qualified experts. It said the probe revealed that during five year tenure of Dr Samad some of the antiques worth billions of dollars in museums were either missing or not as per description available in record which raises serious questions concerning their genuineness.

Dr Samad is also facing allegations of issuing no-objection certificates illegally for archaeological sites. During his tenure, the cost of the Heritage Trail project in Peshawar increased from Rs200 million to Rs714 million.

The issue of the Archaeology Department chief gained prominence after Prime Minister Imran Khan took notice of the matter and asked the NAB chief Justice (R) Javed Iqbal to address the issue.

“The NAB Chairman should take action against those in his institution who are responsible for this disgraceful act,” Imran Khan tweeted.

KP Chief Minister Mehmood Khan, Information Minister Shaukat Yousafzai and Tourism Minister Atif Khan had also expressed concern over the arrest of Dr Samad.

Dr Abdul Samad is the only Sanskrit PhD scholar in Asia, a full bright scholar and a gold medallist in archaeology.

On Friday, an accountability court granted 10-day physical remand of Dr Abdul Samad to the NAB. Dr Samad was presented in the accountability court in handcuffs which was a matter of concern for the academicians and it was widely condemned.

After Imran Khan’s tweet, the NAB chairman took notice and directed Director General NAB KP to present Dr Samad before him at the NAB headquarters along with details of allegations on 18 February (Monday).

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