SECP seems unaware of exact info regarding data leak: IHC

ISLAMABAD: The counsel of Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) has submitted an inquiry report to Islamabad High Court (IHC) against Arsalan Zafar, the SECP additional director and the prime suspect in sensitive data leak issue, on Thursday.
Chief Justice of Islamabad High Court (IHC), Justice Athar Minallah heard the petition of Arsalan Zafar that challenged the constitution of a committee to investigate allegations of the sensitive data leak. During the hearing, the SECP lawyer submitted the inquiry report against Zafar.
Justice Minallah remarked that the report contains nothing but the details of content which is already available on the portal. Later, the counsel submitted another report regarding a secret data leak.
Justice Minallah remarked that there was nothing confidential in this report as well. After being questioned by the judge, the counsel submitted the third inquiry report to the court and said that the confidential matters are compiled in the report.
To this, Justice Minallah said that the third report has only contained the details which highlighted the issue that defamed the institution. He remarked that it shows the weakness of the commission. The judge added it seems that the commission was unaware about the exact information regarding the data leak.
Justice Minallah questioned the SECP’s counsel to highlight the points in the report to spot details of data leaks and the genre of the data. He added that it is impossible to run public and secret portals separately by the commission.
He asked the lawyer to read the report carefully and then give legal advice to the client.
“How can the information on a public portal differ from an internal portal or whether the information available with the public portal is false?” he asked. The lawyer replied that the public portal provides basic information.
“Why the names of shareholders are not appearing on the public portal,” questioned the CJ IHC. To this, the lawyer said that the information of a private company limited is kept secret around the world.
The CJ IHC remarked which law restricts the disclosure of a private company and what was the reason behind it. The lawyer replied that the question would be about the law that could publicise the details of a private company.
The judge asked the lawyer to apprise the court of the law which blocks passage to disclose details of a private company.
The lawyer argued why the court is taking special interest in the case. To this, the judge remarked that many people have interest in this case.
Later, the CJ IHC also ordered the SECP counsel to prove the relevance of Article 19-A in the next hearing, besides highlighting the difference between public and private portals.
The hearing was adjourned till January 28.
Earlier on September 25, the prime suspect in SECP data leak issue, Arsalan Zafar, had challenged the formation of the investigation committee in the Islamabad High Court (IHC). In his petition, Zafar had stated that he was sent on forced leave on September 9 besides seizure of his laptop. The petitioner claimed that he had submitted a detailed response to the investigation committee on September 14.
On September 23, the SECP had issued show-cause notices to its senior officers including additional and joint directors in connection with an investigation into data leak. The show-cause notices had been served to Additional Director Market Surveillance Arsalan Zafar, Joint Director Information Technology (IT) Muhammad Sohail, Deputy Director IT Hammad Ahmed, Assistant Joint Director Companies Registration Sadiq Shah, Assistant Joint Director Companies Registration Adil Ali and Jamal Zaidi.
A total of 10 SECP officers had reportedly been served show-cause notices in order to probe the sensitive data leak. – TLTP

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