LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday remanded former senior minister of Punjab Abdul Aleem Khan in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for eight days in connection with inquiries against him on charges of accumulating assets beyond means and malpractices.
Extraordinary security measures were taken outside the judicial complex housing the accountability courts as all adjacent roads were closed for routine traffic by placing containers and barbed wire before the appearance of the Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf leader, who was arrested on Wednesday.
Hundreds of PTI workers and a few leaders, including former MPA Shoaib Siddiqui, managed to gather outside the complex and showed their support for the former senior minister.
NAB officials produced Mr Khan before the court by using the judges’ compound without seeking any permission from the authorities concerned that caused inconvenience to the judges of other courts and also damaged the rear door of the complex on the ground floor.
The registrar of the accountability courts also took notice of the objectionable act of the officials and issued a show-cause notice to the NAB team concerned and directed them to personally appear before Administrative Judge Syed Najamul Hassan Bokhari on Friday (today).
At the outset of the hearing, NAB special prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua submitted an application to the court with a request to grant a 15-day physical remand of Aleem Khan. Revealing the grounds for the remand, he stated that the suspect being a public office holder acquired huge assets and established offshore companies that owned apartments and bank accounts. He said all these things were not proportionate to the known sources of income of the suspect.
The prosecutor further said that the suspect acquired more than 900 kanals of land worth Rs600 million approximately in different parts of Lahore in the name of his company M/s A&A Pvt Ltd and also paid a huge amount for additional 632 kanals of land which the suspect failed to justify.
He pointed out that Mr Khan won Rs19 million out of a prize bond draw in 2002 while he transferred Rs190 million to his father and Rs198m to his mother abroad.
The offshore companies of Mr Khan, as per NAB, were established in the United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates. These included Vision Developers, Vision Printers, A&A Developers, ZRR Investments UK, Thomson Trading, R&R Free Zone Company, Titanium Holding FZE-UAE, Visions Holdings FZE-UAE, Principal Capital Investments FZE-UAE, SK Global Investments FZE-UAE and Infomex Holding FZE-UAE.
The prosecutor said the offshore companies of the suspect acquired various flats/assets worth more than 30 million AED which were disproportionate to his known sources of income. He said the suspect established 35 companies from 2003 to 2017 in Pakistan, making investments of approximately Rs1 billion. He argued that Mr Khan’s physical remand was required to procure further evidence, detection of hidden assets and recovery of crime proceeds.
Representing the PTI leader, advocates Amjad Pervez and Azhar Siddique opposed the request for his physical remand.
Advocate Pervez also represents Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly Shahbaz Sharif and Maryam Nawaz in NAB cases against them.
The counsel argued that Aleem Khan possessed the assets worth Rs878m and all were declared in tax documents. He said all the documents available with NAB were provided by his client.
Mr Khan told the court that all of his assets, including companies and flats mentioned by NAB were already declared. He said he appeared before the bureau’s investigators whenever they summoned him. The former minister claimed that his arrest was nothing but a revenge for writing a letter to the NAB chairman.
Judge Syed Najamul Hassan Bokhari granted NAB physical remand of Aleem Khan for eight days and directed it to produce him again on Feb 15.
Published in Dawn, February 8th, 2019