The Supreme Court on Monday granted bail to anchorperson Shahid Masood against surety bonds worth Rs500,000 in a case pertaining to embezzlement of Rs38 million from state-run broadcaster Pakistan Television.
According to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), Dr Masood during his tenure as managing director and chairman of PTV was involved in the embezzlement of Rs37 million in acquiring Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media rights in 2008.
The agreement was allegedly carried out with a fake company — M/s International Sports Solution (ISS). Investigators claim that funds were also released, causing the loss of millions of dollars to PTV as the state-run television channel failed to acquire PCB media rights from 2008 to 2013.
A two-member bench headed by Justice Manzoor Ahmed accepted Masood's bail application today.
The anchorperson stated in his appeal that he is a "blunt" analyst and critic of government policies, due to which he has been "a target of governmental institutions".
The plea noted that although the FIA had shut the case, it was reopened in 2015. "Suspects Kashif Rabbani, Fawad Shabbir and Roshan Gilani are all facing trial and have also started paying back the embezzled amount," the bail plea added.
The anchor accused the FIA of harassing him and not being able to come up with any proof against him.
Masood added that the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had rejected his request for bail without examining the facts of the case as his name "was not mentioned in the first investigation report".
On December 23 last year, Masood was arrested from the premises of the IHC by the FIA after the court dismissed his petition.