SC grants bail to Cheema in Ashyana scheme case

Published November 26, 2020
The Sup­reme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Lahore Dev­elopment Authority’s former director general Ahad Chee­­ma, the principal accused in the Ashyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case. — File photo
The Sup­reme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Lahore Dev­elopment Authority’s former director general Ahad Chee­­ma, the principal accused in the Ashyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case. — File photo

ISLAMABAD: The Sup­reme Court on Wednesday granted bail to Lahore Dev­elopment Authority’s former director general Ahad Chee­­ma, the principal accused in the Ashyana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme case, and co-accused Shahid Shafeeq.

A three-judge Supreme Court bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam, gran­ted post-arrest bail to the two accused when the bench was informed that the accu­sed had been in jail for the last two years and nine months. The formal reference against the accused was filed in December 2018 and they were indicted in February 2019.

The National Account­abi­lity Bureau (NAB) arrested Ahad Cheema in connection with the Ashyana Housing Scheme case, accusing him of owning property and assets worth billions of rupees inside and outside the country.

In 2018, Mr Cheema had given Rs21.6 million as loan to one of his brothers while investing Rs15 million in the United States with another individual. He also owned 2.5kg of gold, which was in his wife’s possession, while his annual expenses were over Rs.8.4 million.

The allegations also inclu­­de possessing a land measuring 113 kanals, besides a three-kanal plot in Lahore’s Baath village in the canton­ment area worth Rs20 million.

NAB prosecutor Imranul Haq argued in the court that Bismillah Engineering was a dummy entity of Paragon Housing Society which had transferred a huge amount to the accounts of Bismillah Engineer­ing and the amount was later parked in the accounts of the LDA.

Senior counsel Ashtar Ausaf, representing Shahid Shafeeq, argued that his client was behind bars for the last two years and nine months since his arrest in February 2018, adding that the reference was filed against him in December 2018 and charges were framed in February 2019.

The counsel further arg­ued that only 11 witnesses could be presented out of a total of 86 all during this period, adding that no loss to the national exchequer was caused by his client.

Published in Dawn, November 26th, 2020

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