LHC tells NAB to establish case against Aleem in 48 hours.
LAHORE -- A division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) on Monday directed NAB to establish at least a prima facie case against PTI leader Aleem Khan within two days by bringing any statements of witnesses examined by it on the record.
A division bench then adjourned until May 15 the hearing in a bail petition filed by Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf central leader and former Punjab senior minister Abdul Aleem Khan in the offshore companies and assets beyond means case. Headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, the division bench was hearing the bail petition filed by the ex-senior minister.
The bench was informed by the NAB prosecutor that the bureau had written letters to the authorities concerned of various foreign countries for seeking record of Abdul Aleem Khan's offshore companies and properties. He submitted that the reference would be filed as soon as the record was received from foreign countries.
The NAB official further said that Aleem Khan's assets increased manifold during a short span of time whereas the bureau had solid evidence against him.
On the other side, the defence counsel submitted that his client was behind bars since February 6. He said that as per the law, the prosecution was bound to establish the case beyond reasonable doubt. However, he claimed, the bureau had failed to prove anything against the PTI leader.
Barrister Ali Zafar said that the accountability watchdog had already admitted in its reply that investigations were still underway and further probe was required. It means that after completing investigations, a reference may or may not be filed, he said. He added that that it was a case of further inquiry and the bail could not be withheld on the pretext of pending investigations.
He said that the bureau had alleged that Aleem Khan was a shareholder in a company called AA (PVT) Limited, which acquired land with money gained beyond known sources of income.
He argued that the bureau must, at least, prima facie establish that there is some nexus between ill-gotten money amassed through corruption or abuse of power with the assets of his client.
The counsel contended that the bureau had failed to prove any nexus yet. He said there was no allegation against Aleem Khan that he committed any corruption or misused the government fund as a minister during 2003 to 2007. He submitted that no offense could be made out in the absence of such an allegation.
Defence lawyer also highlighted that AA (Pvt) Limited had declared all its assets to the tax authorities which had accepted through different orders that the firm had sources of funds to buy the properties.
He said that the source of funds accepted by the FBR was exceeding the assets so the offense of possessing assets beyond means was not even prima facie established. Following the defence arguments, the division bench directed the NAB to establish at least a prima facie case and gave two days time for bringing any statements of witnesses examined by it on the record. The court adjourned further hearing till May 15.
An accountability court on Monday extended until May 27 the judicial remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former senior provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan in assets beyond means case. In presence of Abdul Aleem Khan, Accountability Court Judge Syed Jawadul Hassan conducted the hearing.
When the court asked about filing reference against the PTI leader, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that the bureau had sought record regarding Aleem Khan's offshore companies from abroad. As soon as the record is received, the final investigation report would be filed in the court, he added. The NAB official requested the court to give time for the purpose.
Aleem Khan's counsel opposed NAB's request and asked if the record was not received from abroad on time, what will happen.
After hearing the arguments, the court accepted the NAB officials' request and adjourned the matter till May 27. The court also extended judicial remand of Aleem Khan.