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Aleem’s bail plea adjourned until 15th

Lahore

May 14, 2019

LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Monday adjourned bail petition of former senior provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to submit statements of the witnesses against the petitioner.

During the course of arguments, Barrister Syed Ali Zafar represented Khan and said the prosecution story was false and based on guess work. He said the law required the prosecution to prove and establish its case beyond reasonable doubt. He argued that at the stage of bail only tentative assessment of evidence had to be made while the benefit of the doubt was to be given to accused.

He said in this case the NAB itself admitted before the court in its reply that the investigation was still under progress and required further probe which showed that after investigation was complete, a reference may or may not be filed.

The counsel contended that as such the case was one of inquiries and bail could not be withheld against a person pending the investigation. Barrister Zafar argued that the only allegation against the petitioner was that he was a shareholder in a company called AA (Pvt) Limited and the company acquired land which was beyond known sources of income. Referring to various judgments of the Supreme Court, he stated that for an offence under Section 9(a)(v), National Accountability Ordinance, the NAB must at least prima facie establish that there was some nexus between ill-gotten money through corruption and abuse of power with the assets of the petitioner.

The counsel pointed out that the company had declared all its assets to the tax authorities and the tax authorities, through various orders accepted that the company had the sources of funds to purchase the properties. He said the properties were sold by the company to DHA against a sum of Rs1.080 billion which was also accepted by the tax authorities. The tax authorities decided that no capital gains on sales tax was payable and no appeal was filed by FBR against the judgment of the income tax tribunal, which attained finality, the counsel added.

He argued that since the source of funds accepted by the FBR was more than the assets; hence the offence under Section 9 (a)(v) of the NAO of possessing assets beyond means was not even prima facie established. The bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi adjourned the hearing until May 15 and directed the NAB to submit copies of the witnesses’ statements. Meanwhile, an accountability court on Monday extended judicial remand of Aleem Khan by May 27.

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