LAHORE: Paragon Housing Society Director Qaiser Amin Butt has reportedly become an approver against former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafique and Nadeem Zia.

“Qaisar Amin Butt has become approver against Saad Rafique and Nadeem Zia and recorded his statement before a magistrate on Monday,” Mr Butt’s counsel Advocate Pir Masood Chisti told Dawn.

“Mr Butt has become approver under Section 26-B of the NAB Ordinance,” he said and added his client recorded his statement in-camera. Butt said he had nothing to do with other companies of Nadeem Zia.

Earlier, Mr Butt had filed a plea bargain application in NAB Lahore but it did not entertain it saying it wanted to lay hand on ‘true beneficial owner’ of the housing society.

Mr Butt in his plea bargain had agreed to compensate 89 claimants.

Khwajas’ pre-arrest bail extended till Dec 5

Saad Rafique, who is on protective bail, had said the NAB was looking for an approver in this inquiry. Both Saad and Salman Rafique had denied their links with the Paragon Housing Scheme.

According to NAB, Mr Butt in connivance with Nadeem Zia and others had launched an illegal housing scheme -- Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd -- in 2005 on the basis of forged and fabricated documents along with alleged approval from Aziz Bhatti Town TMA.

“In 2013, all TMA-approved housing schemes were transferred to Lahore Development Authority (LDA). However, the Paragon record was intentionally not shifted to the LDA by the suspects.

Paragon City Housing Society has not yet been approved by the LDA. Thus, Qaiser Amin Butt being the beneficial owner is running the scheme, unlawfully,” it said.

Nadeem Zia is reported to have fled to the US.

Qaiser Amin Butt is in the custody of NAB till Dec 4 on a physical remand.

Khwaja brothers: The Lahore High Court on Monday extended interim pre-arrest bail of former railways minister Khwaja Saad Rafiq and his brother Khwaja Salman Rafiq till Dec 5 restraining the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) from arresting them.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Tariq Abbasi further directed the NAB chairman to decide an application of the Khwaja brothers for the transfer of inquiries pending against them from Lahore to any other regional office of the bureau.

The counsel for the Khwaja brothers argued that the NAB had lost its credibility and its independence had been compromised for irrelevant consideration.

He said NAB-Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem had become a party to cases against the PML-N leaders and also showed his prejudice in controversial interviews to different television channels.

He said an application for the transfer of the inquiries against the petitioners was lying pending before the NAB chairman. He urged the bench to order shifting of the inquiries from Lahore to any other region.

A NAB prosecutor told the bench that the NAB chairman would decide the application for the transfer of inquires possibly within three days.

The bench expressed dismay when the prosecutor said the petitioners had not been provided with reasons for their likely arrest. He said the details would be provided at the time of arrest.

The bench extended pre-arrest interim bail of Khwaja brothers till Dec 5 and directed the NAB chairman to decide their application for the transfer of inquiries at the earliest.

Previously, the petitioners counsel had pleaded since the ‘illegal’ arrest of opposition leader in National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif, it had become a matter of public knowledge that the NAB officials had been abusing the process of law for political victimisation. He alleged that the NAB had become a stooge in the hands of incumbent government and resorted to victimisation of political opponents.

Rafiq and Salman stated they had nothing to do with Paragon City.

The petitioners said they had already provided the NAB with all information required by the interrogators but they were being summoned time and again with mala fide intention.

The NAB initiated an inquiry against Khwaja brothers in Paragon City scam. Saad is also facing inquiries in railways and Ashiana scams.

MEDIA TALK: Saad Rafiq told newsmen that the NAB remained failed to produce even a single evidence against them before the court.

He alleged that Prime Minister Imran Khan had been personally monitoring the case against him. He said such vindictive actions were not new for the PML-N. He said Shahbaz Sharif had also been subjected to political victimisation.

He said Imran Khan introduced a culture of hate.

Commenting on the 100-day plan of the PTI government, the former railways minister said the PTI gave nothing to people except burden of foreign loans.

NOTICE: The Lahore High Court on Monday issued a notice to the NAB on a petition moved by the daughter of former chief justice Iftikhar Chaudhry challenging the arrest of her husband in Eden Housing Scheme scam.

Ifra Murtaza pleaded through counsel Asad Manzoor Butt that the NAB mischievously got her husband, Murtaza Amjad, declared a proclaimed offender by a court and later arrested him from Dubai.

The counsel asked the bench to declare the arrest of the petitioner’s husband illegal and order the NAB to release him immediately.

To a court’s query, a NAB prosecutor stated that the reference against the suspect had not been filed before the trial court so far. However, he said the arrest of the suspect was made after a due process of law.

The bench directed the NAB to submit a written reply to the petition.

Published in Dawn, November 27th, 2018