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Court extends physical remand of Ahad Cheema in Ashiana scam

LAHORE: An accountability court in Lahore on Tuesday extended the physical remand of former Lahore Development Authority (LDA) director general Ahad Cheema and three other accused for 14 days in a case pertaining to the Ashiana Housing Scheme scam.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials presented Cheema and three other suspects before the accountability judge and requested for an extension in their remand.

The judge allowed the request, directing the NAB to produce them on April 17 after expiry of their 14-day physical remand.

Cheema, who is considered to be a close confidant of Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif, was arrested on February 21 on charges of financial irregularities in the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) and Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme Scam.

He has been accused of misusing his authority with criminal intent to award a contract to Bismillah Engineering on the basis of nepotism, causing a loss of Rs 455 million to the national exchequer.

Earlier, NAB investigators obtained access to his mobile phone and laptop to investigate the data and emails. They reportedly approached technical experts to secure and restore the data which had been either formatted or deleted.

His arrest triggered a strong reaction from Punjab bureaucracy, accusing NAB of mistreatment. The Punjab Assembly also passed a resolution denouncing the arrest.

It merits mentioned that the CM Punjab had also appeared before a NAB team in connection with the probe into the Asiana Housing Scheme scam.

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