Tuesday 21 May 2019
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LHC grants bail to Aleem Khan

Ag NNILAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday granted post-arrest bail to former Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan in an assets beyond means case registered by the National Accountability Bureau. Announcing the verdict, the court ordered him to deposit a surety of Rs 1 million. As the hearing resumed, a NAB prosecutor, following court s previous order, furnished statements of prosecution witnesses and pleaded that the accused s sources of income are disproportionate to his expenses , adding that the accused showed less value of his properties as they were disproportionate to his known sources of income.He said foreign remittances of Rs 89.4 million were transferred in the bank account of the accused. He said the accused had been failed to justify the money he received from abroad and assets worth Rs 900 million. He said the record has been sought from different countries regarding the properties of the accused.The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken the former Punjab senior minister into custody on February 7, after he reportedly failed to satisfy the bureau s officials about sources of his income in connection with his offshore companies.Representing the PTI s leader, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar pointed out that all the amount and assets alleged by the NAB had already been declared in tax documents. He said the bureau had been failed to establish any kind of offence against the petitioner. He maintained that the corruption watchdog has failed to prove its charges against his client. The bureau arrested the former minister without any plausible reason and demanded that he be released on bail.He argued that in this case, the NAB had not even alleged any act of corruption or embezzlement against the petitioner. Referring to various judgments of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, he said the NAB must establish that the sources of funds available with the petitioner were an outcome of any act of corruption or misuse of authority or that he gained any benefit or misappropriated any government funds or gave any contracts, etc.Barrister Zafar said the documentary evidence showed that A A (Pvt.) Limited, the petitioner s company, purchased property for Rs 79 million through valid registered sale deeds for which the legal source of funds was available and this was duly accepted by the FBR and the income tax tribunal. He argued that the NAB has no documentary evidence to establish that the petitioner showed value of his properties lower than the actual value and was relying on oral statements of only 12 witnesses.The counsel argued the allegation that the property was undervalued is not an offence but the maximum penalty which could be imposed is that the stamp duty will have to be payable on additional amount. He said this could not be conceivably an offence under the NAB ordinance. He said there is no chance of absconding of the petitioner because he always remained in Pakistan and is cooperating in an inquiry with the NAB for the last many years. He said keeping somebody in jail while the NAB was still making up its mind whether or not to file any reference would be a violation of the due process enshrined in the Constitution.After hearing arguments from both sides, the bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem allowed the petition of Aleem Khan and granted him bail subject to furnishing two bail bonds of Rs 1 million each.Speaking to the media after being granted bail, Aleem Khan urged the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to first thoroughly carry out investigations into cases and then arrest people if they are found guilty. He slammed the bureau s practice of putting people behind the bars before completion of investigations. He said he would have quit politics had he been involved in corruption of a single penny. If someone metes out injustice to me, Almighty Allah will do justice, he said, adding that there are certain flaws in the NAB law which needed to be removed. Putting someone in jail until investigation is completed is a grave injustice.He appealed to the government to look into the NAB law and questioned why the corruption watchdog failed to gather evidence against him over the past 17 months. Aleem said if the bureau could not make out a case against him, why he was kept in prison for 100 days.


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