LAHORE: A special court (offences in bank) on Saturday expressed its displeasure over the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) for one-year delay in submission of challan (investigation report) in the money laundering and sugar scam inquiry against Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza.
Earlier, Shehbaz and Hamza appeared before the court along with their proxy counsel.
The court was informed that lead counsel Amjad Pervez could not appear as he had been infected with dengue fever. The proxy counsel requested the court to adjourn hearing for the arguments on the point of jurisdiction raised by the FIA.
Asked about the progress in the investigation, a special prosecutor of the FIA told the court that the investigation team had been working day and night to conclude the investigation and hopefully the needful would be done within the coming month of November.
Presiding Judge Sardar Tahir Sabir showed his displeasure over the delay and observed that the FIR was registered in the case on Nov 14, 2020 and about one year time had elapsed and an incomplete investigation report under section 173 of CrPC had been submitted.
The investigating officer also assured the court that the complete report would be filed by Nov 20.
The judge granted the required time to the FIA for the report and observed that the question of the jurisdiction would be determined on the next hearing. The judge also extended the pre-arrest bails of Shehbaz and Hamza with a direction to the IO to submit the report positively by Nov 20.
In a brief conversation with the reporters, Shehbaz said dialogue was the best way to deal with the protest by the proscribed Tehreek-i-Labbaik Pakistan.
About the case against him, he said the allegations levelled by the FIA were already a subject of a pending trial in a reference filed by the National Accountability Bureau. The opposition leader said he had been implicated in fabricated cases. However, he hoped that Allah would do justice with him.
The FIA had booked Shehbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleman in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 – financial fraud, impersonation and forgery – of the PPC and 5(2) and 5(3) – criminal misconduct – of Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act. Suleman Shehbaz is absconding in the UK.
Published in Dawn, October 31st, 2021