LAHORE: Detailed judgment released by a Lahore High Court two-judge bench on post-arrest bail of Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman holds the record proved that the petitioner procured valuable property against “exemption policy” by corrupt, dishonest and illegal means in connivance with co-suspects.

The bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider had dismissed the bail petition on July 8 through a short order.

Giving reasons to deny bail, the bench observed that in cases of white collar crimes, the primary instrument for commission of crime is the creation of a document, which usually comes to the surface after accomplishment of assignment.

“Such offences are made possible by the use of some form of technical or inside knowledge, which may be an awareness of how to use the organisational routine to conceal offending or may involve the abuse of special expertise,” remarks the bench in its 19-page verdict.

It further remarks that the moral element in white collar crimes is absent and crimes of such nature affect whole society even though they may not have any immediate victims.

It observes that the NAB after thorough investigation concluded that the property transaction in question caused a loss of Rs143 million to public exchequer, recoverable from the petitioner and no evidence was produced by him during investigation showing payment of the outstanding dues.

“Thus, the above incriminating material suggests strong nexus of the petitioner with the above crime, which prima facie constitute corruption and corrupt practices within the meaning of section 9 of National Accountability Ordinance 1999,” rules the bench.

The bench also relies on a Supreme Court’s judgement in Mubashir Hassan’s case (PLD 2010, SC 265), which holds that in cases of white collar crimes pragmatic approach should be adopted by the courts at investigation as well as bail stage and that no leniency should be shown to the people involved in suchlike cases.

The bench further rules that the case law cited by the petitioner’s counsel was distinguishable as facts and circumstances of same are not identical to the instant case.

The NAB in its reference accused Rehman of illegally obtaining exemption of 54 plots each measuring one kanal situated in Block-H, Johar Town. Other two suspects are former director general of Lahore Development Authority Humayon Faiz Rasool and former director of land development department of the LDA Mian Bashir Ahmad.

Published in Dawn, July 11th, 2020

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