Saad Rafique, brother Salman taken into NAB custody in Paragon Housing scam case

Updated December 11, 2018

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Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique's request for bail was denied by the court. — DawnNewsTV
Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique's request for bail was denied by the court. — DawnNewsTV

PML-N leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique were on Tuesday taken into custody by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for their alleged involvement in the Paragon Housing Society scam case, DawnNewsTV reported.

The NAB prosecutor, after delivering his arguments before a two-judge bench of the Lahore High Court headed by Justice Tariq Abbasi, said that the brothers' request for bail should be rejected by the court.

In his arguments, the bureau's prosecutor said that NAB was conducting its investigation against the Khawaja brothers on the basis of the law and added that they were "certainly" linked to the Paragon Housing Society.

He said that Rafique's wife had partnered with Qaisar Amin Butt in the housing scheme, and that the brothers had received money from the housing society.

"The Khawaja brothers have admitted that they took millions of rupees as commission," the prosecutor claimed, adding that Saad's brother-in-law was also a partner in the society.

"If money is earned through illegal means and still mentioned in tax returns, it doesn't make it legitimate," he contended.

The NAB prosecutor said that in a statement given to NAB, Shahid Butt, another one of the accused, had alleged that Saad used to come to every meeting and issue people allotment letters.

He stated that the inquiry against the two brothers was initiated during the PML-N government.

"The NAB chairman has remained a judge," he said. "He doesn't have an animosity against nor friendship with anyone. He works according to the law."

The Khawaja brothers' counsel said that "from the total profit of the Executive Builders, only 6 per cent was taken by their clients," adding that "they had declared whatever they had earned."

The NAB prosecutor accused the brothers of "allotting one house to as many as three different persons" — to which Saad took exception and rejected the allegation.

Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, another of the brothers' counsels, told the court that their clients had not skipped even one of the hearings.

The deputy prosecutor general said that the petitioner can only be told the reason of their arrest, after their arrest and not before. "According to Section 24(d) of the NAB Ordinance, the reasons of arrest can be told afterwards," he said.

The court contested the explanation, remarking that such a course of action is taken only when a raid is conducted.

Before the court dismissed the brothers' petition, their counsel gave the LHC bench a rundown on the allegations against them.

Following the rejection of the petition, the bureau took the Khawaja brothers into custody and transferred them to its lock-up.

PTI exacting 'political revenge': Marriyum Aurangzeb

PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb termed the arrest of the Khawaja brothers as the government exacting "political revenge".

"The government is showing artificial progress in just one area, which is political revenge," she said.

Aurangzeb questioned why the NAB was only targeting PML-N politicians when it also has pending inquiries on the prime minister's helicopter case and Malam Jabba resorts among others.

Meanwhile, PML-N representative Shiza Khawaja wrote an application to National Assembly Speaker Asad Qaiser to issue Saad Rafique's production orders for the current assembly session.

PTI govt has nothing to do with Khawaja bros' arrest: minister

Information Minister Fawad Chaudhry made it clear that the federal government had nothing to do with either of the Khawaja brothers' arrest and the placement of Hamza Shahbaz's name on the Exit Control List (ECL). [Radio Pakistan][3] reported.

Chaudhry said that the PTI government had neither created the said cases nor had it appointed the NAB officers who made the arrests.

The minister, however, did say that "action taken by independent and sovereign institutions against those involved in corruption shows that the country is heading in the right direction."