Prime Minister Imran Khan has asked his special assistant on petroleum Nadeem Babar and secretary petroleum to step down in order to ensure transparency in the fuel crisis probe, Planning Minister Asad Umar said on Friday.

Asad along with other federal ministers on was addressing a press conference in Islamabad to brief the media about the recommendations submitted by the ministerial committee formed to probe into fuel crisis last year.

Also read: SAPM Babar ‘prima facie’ responsible for fuel crisis

However, the planning minister asserted that the decision has been taken to ensure transparency in the investigation and clarified that both the officials had not been found guilty of any wrongdoing.

“Prime minister has tasked the FIA [Federal Investigation Agency] to carry out forensic audit of OMCs [Oil Marketing Companies],” he said.

Asad said PM Imran will not let the “mafia” involved in embezzling the nation’s wealth go scot-free. “The message from prime minister to the mafia is that their time is up.”

#Live: Minister for Planning @Asad_Umar addressing a press conference in Islamabad https://t.co/eXiUHJDAlg
— Radio Pakistan (@RadioPakistan) March 26, 2021

On December 15, 2020, the commission of inquiry headed by the FIA presented before the federal cabinet its report on a petrol crisis that hit the country in June last year on the heels of a sugar and flour crisis.

The report had noted that one of the reasons behind the crisis was a lack of coordination among the departments working under the Petroleum Division and had also held the petroleum secretary and director-general oil responsible.

It had noted that the OMCs deliberately stopped supplying petrol to pumps despite having stocks at their disposal. The report said the OMCs had made from Rs6 to Rs8 billion during the June oil crisis by committing every illegality in “business as usual” manner.

Also read: SAPM Babar ‘prima facie’ responsible for fuel crisis

In July 2020, the Lahore High Court (LHC) observed that Nadeem Babar was prima facie responsible for the fuel crisis as he was running the affairs of energy ministry’s petroleum division.

LHC Chief Justice Qasim Khan was hearing petitions against the unavailability of fuel across the country in June 2020 because of hoarding and the subsequent price hike of petroleum prices.

“Those who are elected, even if they are ministers, have to face the people,” Justice Khan noted. “But unelected individuals [running government affairs] can pack up their bags and return to their offices after it is all over.”

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