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