A Lahore district court sent PTI President Parvez Elahi to jail on 14-day judicial remand in connection with a money laundering case on Monday, shortly after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) arrested him from outside the Camp Jail in the city.
The said case was registered against a woman identified as Saira Anwar in February wherein the suspect was accused of accumulating assets through “crime proceeds”.
In a plea submitted to the court today, the FIA alleged that Elahi handed over Rs50 million to Anwar via his frontman, Muhammad Zaman for money laundering.
The FIA submitted the same plea before the court today, seeking the 14-day physical remand of Elahi, who was granted post-arrest bail in another money laundering case two days a ago but was not released.
The agency told the court it required Elahi’s custody to investigate him and obtain documentary evidence.
Elahi’s counsel opposed the FIA’s request and argued that his client had been had been arrested yet again for political reasons.
Subsequently, the court reserved its verdict on the FIA plea and later rejected it, sending Elahi on 14-day judicial remand.
The FIA’s plea submitted in the court today — a copy of which is available with Dawn.com — refers to a first information report (FIR) filed against Saira Anwar on February 13 “on the allegations of money laundering of crime proceeds of corruption and bribery by accumulating inexplicable immovable assets”.
It said Anwar had deposited more than Rs175m into her bank account from June 2022 till February 2023, which, according to the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), was sourced from “crime proceed of corruption and bribery”.
The plea stated that the ACE directorate general sent a referral from the Lahore ACE regional director against Elahi “in pursuance of Anti-Money Laundering (Referral) Rules 2021 to initiate money laundering proceedings”, which alleged that Elahi had “received Rs65m as kickbacks/bribe to release the funds to a foreign company in a project of Lahore Waste Management Company”.
It further said that according to the Punjab ACE, Rs50m out of the said amount was handed over to Anwar for the purpose of money laundering via Elahi’s frontman Muhammad Zaman who had admitted so during the investigation.
The FIA’s plea stated that a direct link had been established between Elahi and Anwar via call data records during the period considered.
Elahi’s arrest and re-arrests
Elahi is among several PTI leaders and workers who have been arrested amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI leadership following the May 9 riots during protests over party chief Imran Khan being whisked away by the Rangers at the Islamabad High Court premises.
He was first arrested on June 1 from outside his Lahore residence by the ACE for allegedly taking kickbacks in development projects.
The next day, he was discharged by a Lahore court but was rearrested by the ACE in a similar case registered in its Gujranwala region. However, a Gujranwala court had then discharged him on June 3 in two corruption cases pertaining to the embezzlement of funds.
Nevertheless, even after being discharged, the ACE then rearrested Elahi for “illegal recruitments” in the Punjab Assembly.
On June 9, a special anti-corruption court had given the ACE a “last opportunity” to present the record of the illegal appointments case.
The same day, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) came into action and initiated another inquiry against Elahi for his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.
After a sessions court on June 12 had set aside a judicial magistrate’s decision of Elahi’s acquittal in the embezzlement case, the next day, a judicial magistrate again sent him to judicial lockup after the LHC suspended the said order of the sessions court.
On June 20, Elahi finally secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore but could not be released from jail as orders for his release were not delivered to the prison administration.
The same day, the FIA booked him, his son Moonis Elahi and three others on charges of money laundering.
Subsequently, the next day, the FIA took him into custody from jail and he was sent to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in the money laundering case.
ATC dismisses Dr Rashid’s bail plea
A Lahore anti-terrorism court (ATC) dismissed PTI leader Dr Yasmin Rashid’s plea seeking post-arrest bail in an incitement case pertaining to the May 9 riots today.
She had been booked by the Sarwar Road police station for blocking Lahore’s Sherpao Bridge and making speeches against state institutions.
Admin judge Abher Gul presided over the hearing today.
The ATC rejected Dr Rashid’s plea on grounds of non-compliance as her counsel did not appear before the court to present his arguments.