LAHORE: An accountability court on Monday denied further custody of former director general of Punjab Excise & Taxation Department Akram Ashraf Gondal to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and sent him to jail on judicial remand in the liquor licence case wherein Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is also an accused of receiving kickback.

The NAB produced Gondal before the court on expiry of his first physical remand. The investigating officer sought further remand of the suspect, however, the court turned down the request and sent him on judicial remand.

Gondal was arrested on charges of misuse of authority to illegally grant L-2 category licence to a private hotel beyond the eligibility criteria. The NAB said the suspect also benefited the hotel by obtaining no objection certificates (NOCs) from different departments through other officials of the excise department.

In this case, the NAB accused CM Buzdar of taking Rs50 million as bribe to force the excise and taxation department to issue the licence to an under-construction hotel in violation of the law.

Published in Dawn, September 29th, 2020