LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Saturday filed a reference against PTI President Chaudhry Par­vez Elahi and 13 others in an accountability court on the charges of “misusing authority and receiving kickbacks” in Gujrat’s development projects.

NAB has accused the former chief minister and others of receiving Rs1.2 billion as kickbacks in 116 development projects in his hometown.

Reacting strongly to the NAB’s move, the Elahi family said the case was “politically motivated and has been instituted at the behest of the PML-N”.

NAB has also named Mr Elahi’s son, former federal minister Moo­nis Elahi; his principal sec­retary Muhammad Khan Bhatti; and the Punjab Hig­hway Depart­ment offi­cers in the reference.

“During the investigation, it was revealed that former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi and others received kickbacks in 116 development schemes of Gujrat which were illegally allowed under the supplementary grants in 2022-23,” NAB said.

“The accused persons all­egedly misused their off­i­cial positions to get ill­egal gains for themselves. They, in connivance with each other, sanctioned the development schemes against the rules and made advance payments worth millions of rupees, without work done at the site of these schemes, in violation of law,” it said.

It said that suspect sub-engineer (Gujrat) Ashfaq Ahmed confessed to corrupt practices and offered NAB to return his illegal gains worth Rs50m through a plea bargain, which the accountability court has approved.

It said that two other suspects — former chief engineer Sohail Akram and former sub-engineer Mahr Azmat Hayat — had become approvers against the prime accused persons for plundering the public money, it said, adding that Moonis Elahi, who is abroad, had avoided joining the investigation proceedings.

Responding to the NAB’s reference, Moonis said on X (formerly Twitter): “Today NAB has issued a press release stating that my father and I are involved in corruption and they have filed a reference against us claiming an amount of [Rs]744 million.”

He added: “Apparently, this involves 1 million euros in my account. The million euros are mine along with all the funds in our accounts. They have been declared in FBR with the source of funds and money trail. Even NAB went to court and gave the following statement clearing us of all charges when they filed an application of 9C.”

The NAB’s statement attached by Moonis stated that “wealth statements and other documents discussed above opined that the accused persons have justified the acquisition of above-said assets through valid known sources and the same also having been declared along with the sources before the FBR.”

Mr Moonis further said: “The NAB reference is politically motivated, targeting me and my father at the behest of the N-League.”

He added: “The NAB reference is politically motivated, targeting me and my father at the behest of the N-League.”

The authorities instituted over a dozen cases against Parvez Elahi, who of late secured bail in all of them, but was re-arrested under new charges that popped up suddenly.

Published in Dawn, December 3rd, 2023

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