ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday allowed former managing director (MD) Pakistan International Airlines (PIA) Aijaz Haroon, a co-accused in Kidney Hills reference, to travel abroad.

IHC division bench headed by Justice Aamer Farooq, however, gave onetime permission to Haroon to travel abroad to attend his daughter’s convocation ceremony being held in London on May 26. He had filed the petition seeking the said relief.

The prosecution of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) during hearing on the petition opposed that the permission might not be granted to the suspect on the apprehension that he might abscond.

Justice Farooq expressed his displeasure over NAB’s arguments and remarked that “NAB arrests people during inquiry neglecting the value of the evidence, and then the individual spent years behind the bars, who will compensate the loss of arrested persons?”

NAB filed corruption reference on January 13, 2021 against Aijaz Haroon along with others including Ex-deputy chairman Senate Saleem Mandviwala in the accountability court for allegedly being involved in illegal allotment of plots of the Overseas Cooperative Housing Society Limited (OCHSL) (Kidney Hill) case.

Haroon being secretary of Housing Society, allegedly “illegally and unlawfully” created 12 plots in the Kidney Hill area, which were reserved for a water reservoir and recreational park.

Haroon and Mandviwalla allegedly then entered into a property deal for disposing of these plots with Omni Group’s director Abdul Ghani Majeed and received illegal pecuniary benefit of Rs144.2 million from two fake bank accounts, the prosecution claimed.

He said the crime proceeds were shared between Haroon, Mandviwalla and Nadeem Hakeem Mandviwalla. Earlier, a co-accused Azhar Hussain Mughal was pardoned in August last year under the plea bargain.

The prosecution stated that during the investigation of money trail, it was revealed that Haroon received Rs80 million, while Mandviwallas got Rs64.2 million. An amount of Rs16.22 million was transferred to the bank account of Shakeel Ahmed, who was an employee of the accused Azhar Hussain Mughal.

It added that Mughal admitted his involvement in the business of illegal transaction of money (hundi) and confessed to having laundered the said amount.

Mughal entered into plea bargain under section 25(b) of National Accountability Ordinance and offered to return illegal gains, adding, that the accused has paid Rs16.22 million through pay order.

Published in Dawn, May 20th, 2022

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