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NAB reference against Durrani approved for hearing

Karachi

July 2, 2019

The administrative judge of accountability courts on Monday approved a reference against Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durani and others for hearing.

The reference was filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on May 30 against Durrani, his family and some private persons for possessing assets worth around Rs1.6 billion allegedly made through illegal means.

The anti-graft watchdog maintained that Durrani could not account for a difference of Rs1,610,669,528 between his declared total income from 1985 to 2018 and the assets in the name of his family members, dependants and Benamidars.

NAB accused a total of 19 people, including Durrani’s wife Naheed, son Shahbaz, daughters Sanam, Sonya, Shahana and Sara, brother Agha Masihuddin, Zulfiqar Dahar, Shamshad Khatoon, Munawar Ali, Ghulam Murtaza, Muhammad Irfan, Shakeel Soomro, Gulbahar Baloch, Aslam Langah, Tufail Shah, Mitha Khan, Muhammad Shah and Gulzar Ahmed, of colluding with the speaker in corruption.

The bureau attached a list of 27 declared and undeclared assets, including properties, investments and vehicles, in Durrani and his family’s name and stated that they actually valued Rs479.4 million but the accused showed them to be of worth Rs151.6 million.

Furthermore, NAB showed Durrani as the beneficiary of seven Benami properties worth over Rs1 billion, of which six were located in Defence and one in Malir. According to the anti-graft watchdog, they were purchased in the name of his servants. It added that six of these properties were later sold to different people and one was still in the PA speaker’s possession.

NAB maintained that Durrani provided incomplete and partial details of his assets and income and the complete details had to be obtained from the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the Election Commission of Pakistan. It added that the total income of his family in the FBR record was Rs110.4 million; whereas, he declared it to be Rs82 million through salary, agriculture, business, rental, bank and fishpond.

NAB alleged that Durrani, after becoming the Sindh local bodies minister and then the speaker, accumulated assets and pecuniary resources through illegal means in connivance with the others named in the reference.

The decision over the maintainability of the reference was reserved on the previous hearing and the judge pronounced it on Monday. Durrani’s lawyer had opposed the approval of the reference, contending that the case was concocted against his client over political reasons.

The case has been fixed for hearing on July 12. Durrani was arrested by NAB in February from a hotel in Islamabad. He is currently under judicial custody and his office at the Sindh Assembly has been declared sub-jail.

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