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LAHORE: A National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor dealing with the Paragon Housing Society scam involving two former PML-N ministers has resigned after a show-cause notice issued to him for allegedly favouring the suspects in court proceedings.

“NAB Lahore prosecutor Arif Mahmood Rana has submitted his resignation to the chairman following issuance of a show-cause notice to him for allegedly favouring Khwaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khwaja Salman Rafique during their bail applications in the Lahore High Court,” a source told Dawn on Thursday.

He said the prosecutor in question had failed to properly present NAB’s point of view in the case and thus “indirectly benefited” the Khwaja brothers (to secure pre-arrest bail last month).

Official allegedly favoured Khwajas in their bail applications

When contacted, Arif Mahmood Rana told Dawn that he had resigned following the issuance of the show-cause notice last month. “I will reveal the truth once my resignation period is over this month,” he said, adding at present he could not talk as he was still a NAB employee,” he said.

Earlier, NAB said prosecutor Rana during the hearing of a case in LHC had argued in favour of a suspect without even consulting with the NAB Lahore Director General and Deputy Prosecutor General Accountability, Lahore.

“Prosecutor Arif Mahmood Rana despite knowing the fact that the NAB had already submitted comments in this case had allegedly favoured the point of view of the suspect for seeking comments from NAB and benefited him by neglecting his duties,” it said.

In the show-cause notice, NAB said the prosecutor had been asked to elaborate reasons and circumstances of his negligence and favouring the suspect.

The source further said the NAB was also investigating the “circumstances” under which its prosecutor favoured the suspects (Saad and Salman).

The NAB on Tuesday arrested the Khwaja brothers after the LHC dismissed as withdrawn their bail pleasLast week, NAB’s special prosecutor Imran Shafique in the Zulfi Bukhari case had resigned. He had represented the bureau that challenged the removal of Bukhari’s name from the Exit Control List (ECL).

On Wednesday, the Islamabad High Court ordered removal of the prime minister’s aide Zulfi Bukhari’s name from the ECL.

The interior ministry had placed Bukhari’s name on the ECL in August last on NAB’s request for being accused of owning off-shore companies in the British Virgin Islands and assets beyond his known sources of income.

Published in Dawn, December 13th, 2018

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