LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday granted post arrest bail to former director general of Punjab excise & taxation department Akram Ashraf Gondal in the liquor licence case wherein Chief Minister Usman Buzdar is also accused of receiving kickback.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider allowed the bail petition of Gondal and directed him to furnish two bail bonds of Rs500,000 each.

In his arguments, Gondal’s counsel Zaheer Abbas stated that the whole record of the case lied with the NAB and there was no need to keep the petitioner behind the bars. He said the petitioner had superannuated one year ago after a spotless career in the government service. The counsel said the licence in question was conditionally issued to the hotel and later cancelled.

The NAB had accused Gondal of misuse of authority and illegally granting L-2 category licence to a private hotel beyond the eligibility criteria. It said the suspect benefited the hotel by obtaining no objection certificates (NOCs) from different departments through other officials of the excise department.

Gondal was arrested on Sept 17 and he remained in the bureau’s custody till Sept 28 when the trial court sent him to jail on judicial remand.

In this case, the NAB accused Chief Minister 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.

PPRA: The Lahore High Court on Wednesday issued a notice to the chairman of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) on an appeal alleging irregularity in a contract for installation of information technology (IT) equipment in public schools of 17 districts.

A two-judge bench headed by Justice Shahid Waheed was hearing an intra-court appeal filed by a citizen, alleging that the school education department violated the procurement rules in award of the contract for installing IT equipment in the schools.

The petitioner said the department caused a loss of millions of rupees to the national exchequer by committing the illegal act.

He said a single bench dismissed his petition beyond the facts.

He asked the bench to set aside the decision of the single bench and order an inquiry into the alleged corruption committed in the contract.

The bench sought a reply from the PPRA chairman by Nov 17 on the implementation of the procurement rules.

Published in Dawn, October 29th, 2020