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Court gives relief to ex-DG Haj

September 17, 2012

Pilgrims visit Mount Mercy on the plains of Arafat during the annual Haj pilgrimage, outside the holy city of Makkah, November 5, 2011. — Photo by Reuters/File

RAWALPINDI, Sept 17: A special court of Rawalpindi on Monday ordered the release of two bank accounts of former director general Haj, Rao Shakeel Ahmed, an accused in Haj corruption case.

The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) had attached three bank accounts of Rao Shakeel, after the Haj corruption case came into the limelight.

Special judge customs and acting special judge central, Mohammad Ahmed Farooqi on August 27 reserved the judgment on Rao Shakeel’s application seeking de-freezing of two bank accounts of Allied Bank Limited (ABL) and NIB Bank.

As per detail of FIA, the balance amount of the ABL account of Rao Shakeel is Rs0.3 million and NIB Bank is Rs1.16 million.

FIA special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali during the hearing of the application for the de-freezing of bank accounts strongly opposed the de-freezing because Rao Shakeel was facing charges of embezzlement and his case is under trial.

He said the former DG Haj allegedly embezzled 36 million Saudi Riyals as he received kickbacks in hiring of 87 buildings for pilgrims, adding that, if the embezzlement is proven at a later stage, the attached accounts of Rao Shakeel would be confiscated accordingly.

Meanwhile, the same court issued notice to the FIA on bail application filed by Raja Aftabul Islam, former joint secretary of ministry of religious affairs on statuary grounds.

The bail application filed under section 497 of Criminal Procedure Code (Cr. PC) sought release of Raja Aftab as he had completed confinement for over a year in jail.

The court adjourned the hearing till September 25.