National Accountability Bureau (NAB) rearrested PTI President Parvez Elahi on Monday for allegedly receiving bribes over development project contracts, shortly after he was released from Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail.

The PTI president, also the former chief minister of Punjab, was first arrested on June 1 in connection with a corruption case. He was discharged in said case the very next day, only to be arrested in another.

In mid-July, Elahi — ordered to be released from Lahore’s Camp Jail where he was incarcerated in a money laundering case — was detained under the Maintenance of Public Order (MPO) ordinance for 30 days.

Upon the completion of the MPO detention today, the Lahore NAB team took Elahi into custody from the Adiala Jail in a case of allegedly receiving bribes/kickbacks, his lawyer Amir Saeed Rawn confirmed to Dawn.com.

The lawyer termed the arrest political and said Elahi’s legal team would challenge it in the Lahore High Court (LHC).

The Lahore NAB then presented Elahi in a Rawalpindi sessions court, where NAB prosecutors Raffay Malik and Sardar Tahir Ayub sought his two-day transitory remand so that the PTI president could be shifted to Lahore.

However, the court only granted a day’s transitory remand to the Lahore NAB and directed Investigation Officer Najam Abbas to present Elahi before the relevant court “in safe custody” by tomorrow.

According to the court order, an arrest warrant for the PTI leader in the said inquiry was issued on August 11.

A video shared by the PTI before Elahi was rearrested shows him saying, “If they are gaining happiness in this manner (by arresting me), then let them.”

The case

Elahi is one of the co-accused in a case of receiving bribes/kickbacks in exchange for getting the “contracts of road schemes of Gujrat Highways Division awarded to favourite/hand-picked contractors”.

Other co-accused include his son “Moonis Elahi, Mahr Azmat Hayat and others”. The case alleges that Elahi and Moonis were handed over the kickbacks received from Azmat directly as well as through Imtiaz Ali Shah, their accountant.

It further alleges that the co-accused were “involved in causing loss to the government exchequer to the tune of millions of rupees against receipt of commission/kickbacks and committed offences of corruption and corrupt practices” under Section 9(a) of the NAB ordinance, 1999.

Rawalpindi court hearing

At the outset of the hearing today, the NAB prosecutors informed Judge Khalid Hayat that Elahi was unable to use the stairs due to his age, at which the court allowed Elahi to mark his attendance from the car.

Upon requesting a two-day transitory remand, Judge Hayat noted that it was “only a few hours’ drive to Lahore” from Rawalpindi. “Then why do you want a remand for two days?” he asked.

“The investigation that you have to conduct, you can do so after obtaining [Elahi’s] physical remand from the relevant court,” the judge observed.

“I am only supposed to grant the transitory remand.”

At this, the court granted the Lahore NAB one-day transitory remand of the former Punjab chief minister and directed the watchdog to present him in the relevant court tomorrow.

Elahi’s arrest and rearrests

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.

On June 26, a Lahore district court again sent Elahi to jail on a 14-day judicial remand in connection with a money laundering case, shortly after the FIA arrested him from outside the Camp Jail.

Then on July 4, a Lahore anti-terrorism court had dismissed Elahi’s post-arrest bail plea as not maintainable in a case of attacking a police team that raided his house to arrest him in an inquiry by the ACE.

About a week later, the LHC instructed Inspector General of Prisons IG Mian Farooq to address the PTI president’s complaints regarding the lack of basic facilities provided to him in jail.

On July 12, an FIA plea against the denial of Elahi’s physical remand in a case of unexplained banking transactions was dismissed by a Lahore sessions court.

Two days later, the LHC had restrained the police and the ACE from arresting the former Punjab chief minister in any undisclosed case. However, he was then detained at Lahore’s Camp Jail under Section 3 of the MPO.

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