LAHORE: A special (banking) court on Wednesday granted interim pre-arrest bail to PML-Q leader and former federal minister Chaudhry Moonis Elahi till July 4 in a case of alleged money laundering registered by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) pursuant to a report of the Sugar Inquiry Commission 2020.

Mr Elahi, along with his counsel, Amjad Pervez, appeared before the court.

The counsel argued before the court that the petitioner had already joined the FIA investigation, however, still there were apprehensions of his arrest.

He said the case against the petitioner was politically motivated.

Presiding Judge Aslam Gondal allowed the bail petition subject to surety bonds and restrained the agency from arresting Mr Elahi till July 4.

Asked about his previous stance of not seeking a bail, Mr Elahi responded to reporters that he followed the advice of his counsel. “All steps are being taken as advised by my lawyer,” he added, refusing to comment on the FIR registered against him.

Mr Elahi had on June 16 appeared before an FIA investigation team.

The FIR was registered under sections 34 (acts done by several persons in furtherance of a common intention), 109 (punishment for abatement), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using a genuine forged document) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and section 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.

The FIR says in the light of the Sugar Commission’s report, the FIA was mandated by the federal government to probe financial and corporate frauds committed by various sugar mills, including Rahim Yar Khan (RYK)/Alliance Sugar Mills.

Punjab Assembly secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti, Muhammad Nawaz Bhatti, Muhammad Ali, Mazhar Abbas, Makhdoom Omar Sheharyar, Tariq Jawaid and Wajid Khan Bhatti were also booked in the FIR. Of them, Nawaz and Mazhar had been arrested by the agency.

It said the inquiry revealed that several low-profile individuals jointly set up RYK Sugar Mills Ltd. in 2007-8 at Rahim Yar Khan. The FIR added that the mill was set up by laundering funds from unexplained sources, including proceeds of financial crimes.

Published in Dawn, June 23rd, 2022

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