Court approves closure of two more cases against Chaudhrys

Published May 4, 2021
This file photo shows PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (left) and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi. — AFP/File
This file photo shows PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain (left) and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi. — AFP/File

LAHORE: A court here on Monday allowed two identical references of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) and formally approved the closure of two inquiries into assets beyond means against PML-Q president Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi.

Accountability court’s presiding judge Sajjad Sheikh took up the references and approved NAB’s request to close the 20-year-old inquiries for want of evidence.

Originally, there were three inquiries against the Chaudhrys of Gujrat. The first one was into allegations of acquiring illegal assets. The second inquiry was against Mr Elahi, accusing him of making illegal appointments in local government departments. A third inquiry on charges of loan default against the duo had already been closed with the approval of the trial court.

In the references for closing the inquiries, NAB-Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem stated that the investigating officer recommended that the inquiries against Mr Hussain and Mr Elahi may be closed as no trial worthy material or evidence surfaced during the course of investigation.

Inquiry into alleged loan default already closed

It said the NAB chairman had already recommended the closure of the inquiries in the light of the reports submitted by the investigating officer.

The duty judge summoned the investigating officer in illegal appointments reference against Mr Elahi on May 6.

The Chaudhry brothers had challenged the inquiries against them before the LHC, alleging that NAB had been used for political engineering.

At a hearing in December last year, the court had expressed concern over the pendency of the inquiries for 20 years and ordered NAB to conclude the same within four weeks.

The PML-Q leaders had pleaded that all the inquiries against them had been recommended for closure by the investigating officers and the regional board of NAB during 2017 and 2018. However, they said the sitting chairman of NAB, retired justice Javed Iqbal, had approved reinvestigation and bifurcation of the inquiries against them after a period of 20 years.

They requested the court to set aside the authorisation of the inquiries and the order for their bifurcation passed by the NAB chairman for being unlawful.

Published in Dawn, May 4th, 2021

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