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Shehbaz handed over to NAB for 14 more days

LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday extended the physical remand of PML-N president Shehbaz Sharif until Oct 30 for a probe into the Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing project scam.

The accountability judge extended Mr Sharif’s remand on the request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

NAB officials produced the Leader of the Opposition in the National Assembly in court amid tight security on the completion of his 10-day physical remand.

As the judge resumed hearing of the case, a NAB lawyer pleaded with him to extend the remand of Mr Sharif for 15 more days.

He said the Bureau needed the PML-N president’s custody for further probe into the scam.

On Oct 6, Judge Najmul Hassan handed Shehbaz over in NAB custody on its request for questioning in the scam.

A NAB prosecutor requested the judge to remand the PML-N leader in their custody for interrogation for 15 days.

He said the former Punjab chief minister misused his powers, causing a huge loss to the national kitty.

The lawyer said Shehbaz had cancelled a contract awarded to M/s Ch A Latif & Sons for construction of Ashiana Iqbal Housing project and handed it to his favourite firm.

He sought the PML-N leader’s custody for further investigation into the scam.

On the other hand, Shehbaz termed all allegations against him baseless. His lawyer opposed the NAB request to hand him over to the Bureau on physical remand.

The accountability judge turned down the NAB plea for the grant of 15-day physical remand of Shehbaz and instead remanded him in its custody for ten days.

The NAB on Oct 5 arrested the PML-N president inside its Lahore office where he was summoned to record his statement in connection with the Punjab Saaf Pani Company case.

A combined investigation team of the country’s top anti-graft watchdog quizzed him for an hour over his alleged role in awarding contract to his “favourite firm” in violation of laws in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal housing project.

The Bureau later issued a statement, declaring that former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif has been arrested in the scam.

Shahbaz’s blue-eyed officers, Lahore Development Authority former director general Ahad Cheema and Fawad Hasan Fawad, are already in NAB custody in the Ashiana Housing case.

The Case Background

Fawad Hasan Fawad, former principal secretary to ex-prime minister Nawaz Sharif, in his statement before NAB in August claimed that he had awarded a contract to a “favourite firm” in the Rs14bn Ashiana Housing project on Shahbaz’s behest.

The Bureau had summoned Shahbaz Sharif in the Ashiana Housing scam in August .

According to NAB, “the contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company titled Chaudhry Latif and Sons but former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif and his aides awarded the Rs 14 billion contract to Lahore Casa Developers – a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited, which is said to be owned by Railways Minister Saad Rafique”.

“Fawad, who was implementation secretary to the chief minister Punjab at the time, levelled charges of wrongdoings against Chaudhry Latif and Sons in order for the contract to be awarded to Casa Developers.”

Formerly the principal secretary of deposed premier Nawaz Sharif, Fawad was removed from the post on June 1 and was appointed Civil Services Academy director general.

The accused bureaucrat was also being probed by NAB for possession of assets beyond known sources of income.

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