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Wednesday February 08, 2023

Three suspects get bail in Rs3.2bn pension scam as trial delayed

By Our Correspondent
December 09, 2022

An accountability court has granted post-arrest bail to three accused in a reference pertaining to money laundering and embezzlement of Rs3.2 billion pension funds.

Judge Suresh Kumar of Accountability Court No-IV directed Aijaz Ali Dawach, Azhar Hussain Hingoro and Majid Ali to furnish two solvent sureties in the sum of Rs5 million each and personal bond in the same amount to secure the bail. They were also told to surrender their passports to the court.

The judge ordered that the names of the accused be placed on the Exit Control List till the disposal of the reference. Dawach, a junior clerk at the health department, Hingoro, ex-branch manager of a private bank in Dadu, and Ali through their lawyers moved their separate applications seeking post-arrest bail in the case.

The judge, who announced his order after hearing both sides, observed that the three accused filed the bail pleas on the ground of statutory delay in the conclusion of the trial while they had been behind bars for more than a year. “The record reveals that the charge in the present reference has not been framed. Moreover, no adjournment has been sought by the accused or their counsel for causing any delay in disposal of the reference,” he added.

The NAB prosecutor strongly opposed the bail request, claiming that the applicants were habitual offenders; thus, their case fell within the ambit of hardened, desperate and dangerous criminals. He said they were not entitled to any such concession and pleaded that their bail applications be dismissed.

However, the judge noted that the accused were neither hardened, desperate and dangerous criminals nor did they cause any delay in the conclusion of the trial, adding that there were no such allegations against them as they were allegedly involved in a financial scam and thus their case didn’t fall within the ambit of physical violence as defined by the Supreme Court in its judgements.

In May, NAB had filed the reference against 84 suspects, including officials of the government and a private bank, for misappropriation and money laundering of Rs3.2 billion from government funds in the District Accounts Office (DAO) Hyderabad through fake pension bills and fake agriculture refund vouchers, causing losses to the national exchequer.

Twenty-seven of the accused are in judicial custody while 14 are out on bail. However, 43 suspects have been named absconders for evading their arrest by the bureau. Judge Suresh Kumar directed the investigating officer to arrest and produce the absconders before the court at the next hearing slated for December 14.

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