Shehbaz, Hamza case: FIA gets show-cause notice for delay in submitting inquiry report

Published December 12, 2021
This file photo shows PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (L) and his son Hamza Shehbaz. — AFP/File
This file photo shows PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif (L) and his son Hamza Shehbaz. — AFP/File

LAHORE: A special court (offences in bank) on Saturday issued a show-cause notice to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) Punjab Director Zone-I Dr Rizwan Ahmad for not submitting challan (investigation report) in the money laundering and sugar scam inquiries into the charges against Leader of Opposition in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz.

In the previous hearing, the court had given a last opportunity to the FIA with a warning to its prosecution team in case of further delay in submission of the investigation report.

However, a prosecutor told the court on Saturday that the report was complete but it would be submitted before the judge special court (Central-I). The FIA had previously raised an objection to the jurisdiction of the special court for banking offences to take up the matter.

Agency ‘defies’ banking court, attempts to submit report to another court in vain

Duty judge of the special court (offences in bank) Aslam Gondal took exception to the prosecutor’s statement and observed that the act of the FIA was a violation of the court’s previous order. He observed that the court was exercising restraint and not issuing a contempt notice to the prosecution team.

The judge adjourned the hearing for a short break as the prosecutor said the investigation report under Section 173 CrPC will be submitted if the file was kept in wait for a while. However, no one appeared on behalf of the FIA when the judge resumed the hearing again.

A written order issued by the duty judge said, “The file has been taken up again but after some wait neither anyone has appeared on behalf of the prosecution nor a report under section 173 of CrPC has been submitted or any reason for non-submission of challan has been furnished”.

The judge issued a show cause notice to the director FIA-Punjab Zone-I Lahore to explain as to why despite a direction, submission of challan on first call had not been submitted and why the prosecutors had not appeared before the court later.

The duty judge adjourned hearing till Dec 16 and also extended the pre-arrest bail of Shehbaz and Hamza till the next hearing.

Meanwhile, Judge Special Court (Central-I) Ijaz Hassan Awan also rejected the request of the FIA to let it submit the investigation report before his court.

It is learnt that after seeking time from the duty judge of banking offences court, FIA Director Dr Rizwan Ahmad, along with prosecutors Chand Ashraf, Munazza Shaheen and Aqeelur Rehman Khan and investigating officer Syed Ali Mardan, appeared before the special court (Central-I) and requested it to receive the report.

Judge Awan observed that the petitions of the suspects for pre-arrest bail were pending before the special court for offences in bank. He noted that the duty judge of the other court had directed the prosecutor to submit the report subject to decision on the objection regarding the jurisdiction decided by the same court.

The judge remarked that his court could not receive the investigation report that should be filed before the same court that was hearing the bail petitions in the FIRs.

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, December 12th, 2021

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