LAHORE: An accountability court on Friday turned down a request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for further physical remand of former defence minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif in assets beyond means inquiry and sent him to jail on judicial remand.
The NAB presented Asif before the court and a prosecutor filed a written application for his further custody on the pretext of incomplete investigation. He said the suspect did not cooperate with the bureau in the investigation.
Advocate Haider Rasool, on behalf of the former minister, opposed the remand saying his client had appeared, in person and through lawyers, 25 to 30 times before the combined investigation teams of the NAB in Lahore and Rawalpindi as well. He said all the record had been furnished to the bureau and there was no need to grant his further custody to it.
The prosecutor said the suspect was yet to disclose the source of income of a foreign remittance he received from Dubai amounting to Rs100 million.
“What if he does not tell you anything for 50 years, should the court allow you to keep him for 50 years,” Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan asked the prosecutor.
The judge advised the prosecutor to ask the investigators to go to Dubai for the investigation if the suspect was not telling them what they required. The judge reserved his decision on the bureau’s request, which he announced after a while denying further custody of Asif to the NAB.
The judge sent Asif on judicial remand and adjourned hearing till Feb 4.
Khwaja Asif was arrested from Islamabad on Dec 29, 2020, and later shifted to Lahore office of the NAB.
The NAB alleged that Asif failed to explain the source of his income and assets. It said the suspect was first elected senator in 1991 when his assets were around Rs5 million. It further said the assets of the suspect swelled to Rs221 million by 2018, which were beyond known sources of his income.
Published in Dawn, January 23rd, 2021