Tuesday September 21, 2021

Local court extends interim bail of PML-N leaders Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz in graft case

The two PML-N leaders 'committed money laundering worth Rs2.5 bn' through Ramzan Sugar Mills, says FIA
Web Desk
August 02, 2021
Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz (l) and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (r). File photo
Punjab Assembly Opposition Leader Hamza Shahbaz (l) and PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (r). File photo

LAHORE: A local court in Lahore on Monday extended the interim bail of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz's National Assembly Opposition Leader  Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shahbaz till August 16 in a case pertaining to their alleged involvement in the  Ramzan Sugar Mills scandal.

At the outset of the hearing, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted their reply over the bail pleas of the two leaders. 

The FIA claimed in their reply that Shehbaz and Hamza "are not cooperating in the investigations."

The investigations wouldn’t be completed if the court kept extending the interim bails, read the reply.

The FIA officials contended that Shehbaz and Hamza allegedly corrupted  Rs2.5b on account of money laundering through fake bank accounts. 

"The investigations revealed that the details of the account holders, who were the low-income employees of Ramzan Sugar Mills,  do not match the assets they possess," said the officials.

Maintaining that they fear that Hamza and Shahbaz may flee from the country, the FIA officials requested the court to dismiss the bail pleas.

Moreover, the two leaders being released on bail could endanger the witnesses, said the FIA officials.

During the hearing, the counsel representing Shehbaz moved the court to adjourn the hearing until a date after August 13, since Shehbaz has to attend the National Assembly sessions.

Separately, Hamza’s counsel apprised the court that the Punjab Assembly sessions will also continue till the aforementioned date.

The court accepted the counsels’ requests and adjourned the hearing till August 16, extending the bail pleas until the same date.

Bails granted

The PML-N leaders had been granted interim bails in the sugar scandal on June 21, after FIA's Lahore wing summoned Shahbaz in its ongoing probe into the scandal that led to a shortage and an extraordinary hike in the commodity's prices.

In order to avoid being arrested by the FIA, the PML-N president and his son reached out to the court to seek bails, contending that the FIA has registered a baseless case under money laundering allegations.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has already filed a reference on money laundering allegations against the two PML-N leaders.