LAHORE: Former defence minister Khwaja Muhammad Asif on Saturday moved the Lahore High Court seeking post-arrest bail in an inquiry into assets beyond means and money laundering initiated against him by the National Accountability Bureau.
The NAB had arrested him from Islamabad on Dec 29, 2020 and later shifted him to Lahore where he remained on physical remand till Jan 22, 2021. The former minister is a sitting MNA from NA-73, Sialkot.
The bail petition filed through Barrister Haider Rasul Mirza stated that the petitioner during the 22-day physical remand with the NAB had not been confronted with any direct or circumstantial evidence, which could prove owning assets disproportionate to his known sources of income.
It said mere ownership of a property did not constitute an offence under section 9 (a) (v) of National Accountability Ordinance.
It said the petitioner had already provided the NAB an explanation of various sources of income justifying the acquisition of the assets owned and possessed by him. It argued that the onus to prove the allegations of owning any illegal asset was on the prosecution, which failed to establish its case.
The petition contended that no recovery had been made from the petitioner that could connect him with the allegations of corruption as alleged in the grounds of his arrest. It asked the court to release the petitioner on bail.
A two-judge bench will hear the petition on Monday (tomorrow).
The NAB alleged that Asif failed to explain the sources of his income and assets. It said the suspect was first elected senator in 1991 when his assets were around Rs5 million. It said the assets of the suspect swelled to Rs221m by 2018, which were beyond known sources of his income.
The NAB alleged that the suspect was yet to disclose the source of income of a foreign remittance he received from Dubai amounting to Rs100m.
Published in Dawn, March 28th, 2021