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June 27, 2019

SHC grants Sharjeel interim protective bail in assets case


June 27, 2019

The Sindh High Court (SHC) on Wednesday granted interim protective bail to Pakistan Peoples Party MPA and former information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon in the assets case.

Memon had filed a petition in the SHC for obtaining pre-arrest bail in the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) investigation against him for having accumulated wealth through corruption and corrupt practices without known sources of income.

The petitioner’s counsel Khalid Javed said NAB kept the inquiry pending as a tool to pressurise his client as well as kept him in prison for years. Javed said the NAB inquiry and the warrants of arrest against the petitioner at the stage of investigation were sheer abuse of power by the anti-graft watchdog.

He said NAB had already attempted to execute the arrest warrants against the petitioner despite the fact that he had been incarcerated for the past 21 months and was granted bail in the NAB reference by the court a day earlier.

He requested that the court grant interim protective bail to his client because the lawmaker feared that the anti-graft watchdog could arrest him once again. Without touching the merits of the case, the SHC’s division bench headed by Justice Mohammad Karim Khan Agha granted interim protective bail to the petitioner in the sum of Rs1 million, directing him to join the NAB investigation and cooperate with the investigators.

The court directed the watchdog’s investigating officer and director to conduct their investigation in a polite and professional manner. The bench also restrained them from harassing or threatening the petitioner during their investigation, and ordered them to conduct themselves in accordance with the law. The SHC told NAB and others to file their comments on August 6.

The court had granted Memon bail in the Rs5.78 billion advertisement corruption reference on Tuesday. It also suspended his arrest warrants until June 27 in another NAB case about having assets beyond known sources of income.

The former minister, information department officials including Zulfiqar Ali Shalwani and Sarang Latif, and others including advertising companies’ representatives, had been booked by NAB in the corruption reference for committing corruption in the awarding of advertisements of the provincial government’s awareness campaigns in the electronic media.

A day earlier, the SHC had granted bail to Memon for a surety sum of Rs5 million and directed the Ministry of Interior to place his name on the exit control list. Regarding plea against arrest warrants in the assets case, the court observed that the warrant of arrest is yet to be executed upon the petitioner.

The court observed that inquiry in the case of assets was authorised on December 22 and converted into investigation on January 17, and the warrant of arrest was issued on June 13, but it was only executed after order on Memon’s bail petition was reserved.

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