LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Thursday released verdict of post-arrest bail granted to former principal secretary to prime minister Fawad Hassan Fawad in a case of illegal assets made by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The four-page verdict authored by Justice Tariq Abbasi said the NAB had failed to substantiate the grounds for arrest and ownership of alleged assets in the name of the petitioner. Justice Ch Mushtaq Ahmad was other member of a two-judge bench that allowed the bail petition of Fawad on Jan 21.

It also noted that in the grounds for arrest value of a property was described as Rs500 million but in the reference it was stated as Rs78.5 million and nothing had been brought on record that it was purchased or acquired, through an amount, paid by the petitioner.

The decision observed that the bureau initially claimed 14 bank accounts maintained by the petitioner and his family members but the reference was silent to that extent.

“Admittedly, in the reference no evidence had been annexed, suggesting any property, in the name of the petitioner. Similarly, there was no cogent or convincing evidence on record that the petitioner purchased any property from any vendor and got it transferred in name of his relatives as benamidar,” ruled the court.

The bench further observed that other family members of the petitioner had been appearing in the proceedings of the reference although they were co-suspects. While the petitioner, without any cogent and convincing evidence about any nexus with the assets owned by the co-suspects, was arrested at the inquiry stage.

“On the other hand, the facts and the circumstances are before the court, whereas on the other hand, confinement of the petitioner for the last about one year and seven months, without any progress in the case has been noticed,” said the bench in the judgment.

The court also noted that charges had not been framed against the petitioner and co-suspects.

“Consequently, the petitioner could not be kept behind the bars for an indefinite period,” the bench concluded.

Published in Dawn, January 24th, 2020