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October 24, 2020

Supreme Court takes notice of lengthy detention of accused by NAB

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October 24, 2020

ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday took notice of detention of an accused for a long time by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and observed that it will be an injustice with the accused.

A two-member bench of the apex court, headed by Justice Umar Ata Bandial, heard the bail plea of former director Food Punjab Muhammad Ajmal who has been accused of possessing assets beyond means.

Abid Saqi, counsel for the accused, submitted before the court that his client was indicted in August 2020 but has been in the NAB custody for 14 months. The counsel informed the court there were some 80 references pending before the accountability court while his client’s case was on No 81.

Justice Yahya Afridi, another member of the bench, asked about the 80 pending cases on which the NAB prosecutor assured the court that the anti-graft body would not delay any reference. Justice Afridi observed that the anti-graft body should abide by a recent decision of the Supreme Court of Pakistan, adding that if the NAB has an objection to hearings on a daily basis, it should file a case for a review. The prosecutor replied that he was happy with the decision, adding that the NAB also wants the cases to end soon.

The court observed that the accused can only be arrested if they pose danger of influencing the society or the trial. The accused of a violent and white-collar crime must be differentiated, the court noted. The court sought reasons from Lahore's accountability court for the delay in the trial and directed that the statements of all 38 prosecution witnesses should be recorded

Similarly, the court directed informing it for how long cases with the anti-graft body are usually delayed and adjourned the hearing for the third week of November.