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February 7, 2019

Living beyond means: Aleem Khan nabbed

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February 7, 2019

LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday arrested PTI leader and Senior Punjab Minister Aleem Khan over charges of corruption and assets beyond means.

The arrest of Aleem Khan took place in Lahore NAB office at around 11:00am during his appearance before the Combined Investigation Team (CIT) of NAB in an inquiry against him related to assets beyond means.

It has been learnt that the CIT questioned Aleem Khan for two hours regarding his assets and money trail but Aleem failed to satisfy the investigators. After this, Aleem was informed that he had been taken into custody.

The grounds of Aleem Khan’s arrest shared by Lahore NAB office read: “Inquiry conducted so far reveals sufficient evidence to prove involvement of Abdul Aleem Khan S/o Abdul Raheem Khan in the commission of offence as defined under section 9(a) and schedule of the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.”

The NAB claims that the accused, Abdul Aleem Khan, being the Secretary “Parkview Cooperative Housing Society”, member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab and Minister for Information Technology held the “Public Office” as defined in Section 5(m)(iii) & (iv) of NAO,1999 and during the period the accused has been involved in the acts of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under section 9(a) of NAO, 1999 by way of accumulating assets beyond known sources of income within Pakistan and outside.

Moreover, the accused established multiple companies with the purpose of real estate business and invested millions of rupees. The accused bought more than 900-kanal land in different Mauzas of Lahore in the name of his company M/s A&A Pvt. Ltd. and also paid advances for additional 600-kanal land for which he could not account for the sources of the said investments, the NAB added.

The NAB further states that in the year 2005 and 2006, apart from the inland assets, accused Abdul Aleem Khan established offshore companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK). The offshore companies acquired assets of extensive value which are beyond known sources of income of the accused.

The NAB stated that the arrest of the accused was necessary as it was likely that he may tamper with the prosecution evidence through coercion, criminal inducement and criminal intimidation. Moreover, the arrest of accused was needed to unearth other assets which the accused might hold in his ownership or in the ownership of his Benamidar and for the collection of evidence and concluding the inquiry/investigation in accordance with law.

Moreover, it has been learnt that Aleem is also facing inquiries related to Park View Housing Society, River Edge Housing Society, and properties on Multan Road. In January, 2018 NAB sought the record of offshore companies reportedly established in Panama and other tax havens abroad by Aleem Khan and PML-Q's Chaudhry Moonis Elahi.

A Mutual Legal Assistance report related to Khan's case was provided to the Lahore NAB in January 2019 after which he was summoned on February 6.

Meanwhile, it has been learnt that Aleem Khan has tendered his resignation from his of office of Senior Punjab Minister.

Aleem tendered his resignation on a paper addressing Punjab CM Usman Buzdar, copy of which is available with The News, states, “As I have been arrested by NAB authority. I feel my moral duty to resign from the post of Senior Minister, Government of the Punjab, with immediate effect.”

The accused will be produced today before an accountability court for physical remand. Meanwhile, Abdul Aleem Khan’s spokesman has given clarification over the press release of the NAB and said the matter of Park View Cooperative Housing Society was never mentioned till date in the investigations held.

Aleem Khan has already added his assets and his name were not included in the Panama Leaks, he added. It was further clarified that Aleem attended the call notices of the NAB and provided all the documents well in time as and when demanded. It is also questionable that all the record of offshore companies is already abroad and how it can be tampered?

Similarly, land indicated by the NAB was sold out by the company named A&A in 2006 for which all the money trail was also provided by Aleem Khan. He said apparently the arrest of Abdul Aleem Khan has no logic but he has high regards for courts and it is hoped that justice would be done.

However, the question arises that on the allegations of 2005-06 why the investigations have been started after 15 years. If something was done wrong, why they waited for such a long time. It was only done due to contesting by-elections in 2015 and supporting the PTI and Imran Khan. The Nawaz League lodged a complaint against Aleem after such a long time, he concluded.

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