PTI President Chaudhry Parvez Elahi on Sunday was re-arrested for the umpteenth time immediately after a Lahore anti-corruption court discharged him in a graft case pertaining to the Lahore Master Plan 2050, his lawyer, Rana Intezar Hussain, confirmed to Dawn.com.
“They (officials) said he has been arrested in a terrorism case and was being taken to Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi,” Hussain said.
Elahi is among several PTI leaders and workers who have been arrested amid the state’s crackdown on the PTI leadership following the violent riots in the country after Imran’s first arrest on May 9.
He was presented in the court today following his arrest by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment’s (ACE) in Rawalpindi yesterday, which according to another one of his lawyers Sardar Abdul Razzaq was the 12th time the PTI leader was detained since June 1 following the May 9 episode.
While the hearing was under way, Elahi’s lawyer Hussain told Dawn.com over the phone that “anti-corruption officials have sought Elahi’s physical remand while we are opposing their request”.
The court earlier reserved its decision on the ACE’s request and later dismissed Elahi, discharging him in the case.
In its written order issued in the evening, a copy of which is available with Dawn.com, the court said: “Discharge never amounts to acquittal because acquittal is sweet will of learned trial court which is fully competent to summon the accused to face trial even if he was discharged.”
It further ruled that “no incriminating material” was available against the accused which could connect him with the commission of the alleged offence. “Hence, the accused person namely Chaudhry Parvez Elahi is hereby discharged in this case.”
The court also instructed authorities to immediately release the PTI president if he was not required in any other case.
Elahi was charged under Sections 109 (punishment of abetment if the Act abetted committed in consequence and where no express provision is made for its punishment), 409 (criminal breach of trust by a public servant, or by banker, merchant or agent), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 467 (forgery of valuable security, will, etc), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating) and 471 (using as genuine a forged document) of the Pakistan Penal Code as well as Section 5 (criminal misconduct) of the Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 in the case.
The printed first information report (FIR), seen by Dawn.com, had details of the time of reporting and sections invoked filled in with pen. It was registered on July 19 at the Lahore ACE police station on the complaint of Lahore ACE officer Tariq Mehmood.
According to the FIR, in March 2021, then-CM Elahi misused his authority and colluded with Lahore Development Authority Director Amir Ahmed Khan to illegally alter the draft of the Lahore Master Plan 2050 and include Kotli Rai Abu Bakar — an area in Kasur district — in it.
As a result, the value of the land owned by Elahi’s sons, Moonis Elahi and Rasikh Elahi, in Kotli Rai Abu Bakar increased manifold, the FIR alleged.
The provincial anti-corruption authorities had taken him into custody in the case from Adiala Jail in the garrison city, where he was detained in a riots case.
After his arrest, Elahi was presented in an Islamabad court, which granted the ACE one-day transit remand of PTI president for him to be produced in the relevant anti-corruption court in Lahore today.
Timeline of arrests
After May 9, Elahi was first taken into custody on June 1 from outside his Lahore residence by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Gujrat for allegedly taking kickbacks in development projects.
The next day, a Lahore court discharged him in the case but only for the ACE to re-arrest him in a case registered in the Gujranwala region. In this case, Elahi was accused of causing a Rs100 million loss to the national exchequer and receiving kickbacks during his time as the Punjab chief minister.
A day after his re-arrest, a Gujranwala court also discharged Elahi in two corruption cases, including the one in which he was detained on June 2. But freedom still eluded him as he was again re-arrested by anti-graft officials in a case pertaining to “illegal recruitments” in the Punjab Assembly.
While Elahi remained in custody, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) initiated another inquiry against him on June 9 over his alleged involvement in embezzlement in development projects in Gujrat and Mandi Bahauddin.
On June 12, a sessions court set aside a judicial magistrate’s decision of Elahi’s acquittal in the illegal appointments case. The Lahore High Court (LHC), however, suspended the lower court’s order a day later, and a judicial magistrate again sent him to judicial lockup.
The PTI leader finally secured relief from an anti-corruption court in Lahore on June 20 but could not be released from jail as orders for his release were not delivered to the prison administration.
The same day, the Federal Investigation Agency (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 25, a special court in Lahore granted Elahi bail in the case, but he was again arrested by the FIA outside Camp Jail in connection with another money laundering case the very next day. In this case, the FIA alleged that Elahi handed over Rs50m to a woman via a frontman for money laundering.
On July 14, the LHC restrained police and the ACE from arresting the former Punjab chief minister in any undisclosed case while hearing his plea seeking details of all cases registered against him.
And Lahore Banking Crimes Court issued Elahi’s release orders in the money laundering case on July 15 — a week after it allowed his post-arrest bail. But he was not set free as police said he was booked in a terror case. The said case was registered at Lahore’s Ghalib Market police station under terrorism provisions.
Upon the completion of the MPO detention on Aug 14, the Lahore NAB team took Elahi into custody from the Adiala Jail — where he was taken on July 19, reportedly on administrative grounds — in yet another graft case. The NAB alleged Elahi received bribes/kickbacks in exchange for getting the “contracts of road schemes of Gujrat Highways Division awarded to favourite/hand-picked contractors”.
Fifteen days later, the LHC directed NAB to release him and barred authorities from arresting him in any case, but Islamabad police arrested him anyway. Police said he was held under 3-MPO on a magistrate’s orders. The order said Elahi should be detained for 15 days.
The detention order was suspended by the IHC on Sept 6 but Elahi was arrested yet again by the police the same day. The arrest was made in a case pertaining to clashes between Islamabad police and PTI workers outside the Judicial Complex on March 18.
The surety bonds for the bail were not submitted yet; hence, his client had not been released from the Adiala jail and subsequently taken into custody by the ACE, Elahi’s lawyer said.