ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court on Monday granted protective bail to Pakistan Peoples Party leader Sharjeel Inam Memon against Rs2 million surety bonds till April 5.
He has been accused of involvement in a Rs5 billion corruption scandal of awarding advertisements to the print and electronic media under a public awareness campaign as information minister of Sindh.
The IHC division bench, comprising Justice Athar Minallah and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, rejected the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) plea to obtain custody of Mr Memon, saying that since the accused had surrendered himself before the court and wanted to contest allegations levelled against him, he should be encouraged to face trial.
Mr Memon was looking anxious while the NAB prosecutor was opposing the grant of protective bail to him but felt relaxed after the court accepted his plea.
After leaving the courtroom, he criticised Interior Minister Chaudhry Nisar Ali Khan and accused him of wanting to drag him in fake cases.
Court rejects NAB plea to obtain his custody on the ground that the accused has surrendered before court
NAB prosecutor Sardar Muzzaffar argued before the court that Mr Memon was a proclaimed offender and, therefore, he could not claim normal rights. He also questioned Mr Memon’s affidavit attached with his petition in which he had stated that it was his first petition.
Mr Muzzaffar informed the court that Mr Memon had on March 6 applied for protective bail in the Lahore High Court, which dismissed his plea. “Given this, it is now settled that Mr Memon concealed facts from the IHC and did not mention that one of his applications had been dismissed by an LHC bench,” he said.
Justice Kayani said that after Mr Memon surrendered himself before the IHC, he was no more a proclaimed offender.
Mr Muzzaffar said that earlier Mr Memon had filed a petition in the Sindh High Court to seek bail. The SHC directed him to appear before the accountability court within 10 days, but he failed to do so.
The NAB prosecutor said that the accused did not join the investigation which was still pending since he had been a fugitive for two-and-a-half years.
The IHC bench said that it would not examine the case under Section 497 of the Code of Criminal Procedure dealing with pre-arrest bail as Mr Memon was seeking protective bail.
The court advised NAB to present the arguments in the trial court when the accused would seek pre-arrest bail.
Farooq H. Naek, the counsel for Mr Memon, told the court that it had granted protective bail to former prime minister Yousuf Raza Gilani and Khalid Langove.
In his petition, Mr Memon had said that he feared arrest and being implicated in a false case, though no inquiry was pending against him and no notices had been issued to him.
Talking to the media after obtaining bail, Mr Memon said that he was grateful to the court. He said that it was easy for him to stay outside the country and avoid legal proceedings (but he did not do so).
He said that all cases prepared against him at the “behest of Chaudhry Nisar” were tools of political victimisation.
Published in Dawn, March 21st, 2017