Wednesday February 21, 2024

Shahbaz Sharif gets bail in money laundering case

By Agencies
April 15, 2021

LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday granted bail to Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif in assets beyond means and money laundering case.

The court directed Sharif to submit two surety bonds of Rs5 million to avail the relief. The division bench comprising Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar and Justice Asjad Javaid Ghural heard the post-arrest bail petition filed by the PML-N leader.

As the proceedings started, NAB prosecutor Faisal Bukhari advanced his final arguments and opposed Sharif’s bail plea. He submitted that Shahbaz Sharif family inherited Ramzan Sugar Mills only whereas their assets were about Rs16.5 million before 1990. However, their assets reached Rs7 billion in 2018 and there were nine Benamidars who owned many assets, he added.

He submitted Shahbaz Sharif family’s assets increased rapidly after they started receiving telegraphic transfers (TTs) from abroad. Hamza and Salman received TTs from abroad and gave them to their mother, Nusrat Shehbaz, who did not have any other source of income, he added.

He submitted Nusrat Shahbaz owned assets worth of Rs299 million and 26 TTs of worth Rs137 million were transferred to her account and two houses, 96 H and 87 H, were purchased from the money. He further submitted Sharif claimed he earned a profit of Rs124 million but did not disclose the business.

To this, the PML-N leader’s counsel submitted no witness had given a statement against Sharif yet. To which, the prosecutor replied if Sharif considered himself innocent then he should move an acquittal application with the trial court. At that stage, the court observed if the details of assets were submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR), why the FBR did not question it. If the FBR had jurisdiction to look into the matter then why the NAB was probing the issue, it added.

The counsel for petitioner argued a report of the FBR had been submitted and all details had been provided in it. He submitted an audit of more than six-year-old record could not be held whereas his client was seventy years old and could not maintain the record.

The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its verdict for a short while but, later, granted bail to Sharif with a direction to submit surety bonds for the purpose.

A day earlier, the counsel for Sharif had concluded his arguments, saying all assets had been declared by his client whereas all allegations against him were baseless. He submitted his client was seventy years old but also suffered from many diseases. It is pertinent to mention here Shahbaz Sharif was arrested on September 28 after the LHC denied him further relief of pre-arrest bail in the case. He remained in the NAB’s custody for 23 days till the trial court sent him on judicial remand on Oct 20, 2020. The NAB had nominated 16 persons as accused in the case. However, only 10, out of 16, have been indicted yet.

Besides Shahbaz Sharif, Hamza Shahbaz, Javeria Ali, Fazl Dad Abbasi, Rashid Karamat, Muhammad Usman, Masroor Anwar, Nisar Ahmad, Shoaib Qamar, and Qasim Qayyum had been indicted in the case.

However, Salman Shahbaz, Nusrat Shahbaz, Rabia Imran, Syed Muhammad Tahir Naqvi, Haroon Yousaf Zai and another could not be indicted due to their absence.

In a reference, comprising 55 volumes, the bureau had alleged Shahbaz Sharif family committed massive money laundering of Rs7 billion. Yasir Mushtaq, Mushtaq Ahmad, Shahid Rafique and Aftab were made approvers in the reference.