A cyber crimes court in Islamabad on Monday refused to grant pre-arrest bails to Khurrum Yousuf and Nasir Janjua, the two suspects in a video leak scandal involving former accountability court judge Arshad Malik.
Judge Tahir Mehmood heard the arguments of both suspects — who had appeared before the court along with their legal counsel — and the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), which was represented by its prosecutor. The FIA counsel presented the investigation report, which was earlier submitted in the Supreme Court.
Prime suspect Janjua's lawyer argued that FIA's report stated that the plan to record the video — in which judge Malik allegedly confessed to convicting former prime minister Nawaz Sharif in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills reference under pressure, according to the PML-N — was hatched by Nasir Butt, and that his clients had nothing to do with it.
Judge Mehmood asked if the investigation report mentioned Janjua's name, to which the latter's lawyer said: "There is nothing in the report that says that my client has been accused of anything."
"No evidence was produced against my clients; they were nominated by the petitioner (judge Malik)," Janjua's lawyer said, adding that if his clients were granted bail, they would join the investigation and prove their innocence. He further said that the people nominated in the first information report, which was lodged for making the controversial video public, did not include Janjua or Yousuf's name.
The defence told the court that Yousuf was 66 years old and was a heart patient.
The court dismissed the bail pleas of both suspects, following which they were arrested by the FIA. Ghulam Jilani, another individual who has been nominated in the case, was also arrested.
Meanwhile, a civil court judge extended the judicial remand of Mian Tariq Mahmood, who has been accused of showing judge Malik a "compromising video" to blackmail him, by 14 days. He will be produced before the court on September 16.
Judge video controversy
Judge Malik — who had in December last year sentenced Nawaz Sharif to seven years in jail in the Al-Azizia Steel Mills corruption reference and acquitted him in the Flagship Investment case — has been at the centre of controversy since July 6, when PML-N Vice President Maryam Nawaz alleged that he had been "blackmailed" into giving the verdict against Sharif.
According to judge Malik's affidavit — presented to the Islamabad High Court chief justice as a rebuttal to Maryam's press conference — Mahmood, an old acquaintance of his, had been the one to show him a "secretly recorded manipulated immoral video [showing him] in a compromising position" that was shot while the judge was serving in Multan.
The judge claimed that this video was later used by Sharif's long-time supporter Butt to blackmail him.