LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has initiated another inquiry against PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi for his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.

Mr Elahi is accused of making millions through his close aide — former secretary of Punjab Assembly and CM’s ex-principal secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti — and former XEN Rana Iqbal in a number of development projects launched during his tenure as the chief minister.

Mr Elahi has been in jail for a 14-day judicial remand in the Punjab Assembly’s illegal recruitment case instituted by the Anti-Corruption Estab­lishment (ACE).

Court orders production of record in ‘illegal’ appointments case against ex-CM

As per reports received to NAB, a nexus was functional to secure kickbacks in generating and awarding development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin under the supervision of Muhammad Khan Bhatti and Rana Iqbal.

Most of the projects remain incomplete ever after securing full amount of the contracts. The former CM directly issued orders to the C&W Department for early approval of 184 schemes that violated the code of official conduct.

The NAB’s investigation team is also probing the role of some members of Elahi’s family, former provincial minister Ali Afzal Sahi and others in this regard.

Earlier, Parvez Elahi had said he was ready to face more cases but would not leave PTI chief Imran Khan. “I wish to give a message to those registering cases against me that I’m with the armed forces and have nothing to do with those who are against the army,” Elahi said and asked the PTI workers to remain firm.

Illegal appointments

A special court of anti-corruption on Friday allowed an opportunity to the investigating officer to produce the record of a case of alleged illegal appointments against former chief minister Parvez Elahi.

Judge Ali Raza Awan was hearing a post-arrest bail petition of Mr Elahi when an ACE prosecutor stated that the available record was not complete as the investigating officer was in Quetta on an official duty.

The judge expressed his displeasure and observed that the investigating officer was also not present at the previous hearing. “I wish the court had an arrangement to summon the record directly from Quetta,” the judge added.

The judge asked the prosecutor to act responsibly and ensure production of the record on June 10 (today).

Mr Elahi’s counsel Rana Intizar Hussain argued that the prosecution was lying before the court about the unavailability of the record. He said the prosecution wanted to delay the bail proceedings deliberately.

According to the ACE, Mr Elahi recruited 12 Grade-17 officers in the Punjab Assembly against merit. It said all the appointed candidates were from Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin, the political constituencies of the Chaudhrys.

Published in Dawn, June 10th, 2023

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