Court extends physical remand of Asif in assets beyond means case

LAHORE (APP): An accountability court on Wednesday extended physical remand of PML-N senior leader Khawaja Asif till January 22 in assets beyond means case.
Accountability Court Judge Syed Jawadul Has-san conducted the proceedings, wherein the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials produced Khawaja Muhammad Asif on expiry of his physical remand term.
A prosecutor on behalf of the bureau requested the court to extend the physical remand of Khawaja Asif for further investigations. While responding to a court query, he submitted that important facts surfaced during the remand. “Khawaja Asif received money from abroad on account of salary but he did not provide a bank statement for it”, he added.
He submitted that Khawaja Asif owned 50 per cent shares of Tariq Mir company but he could not inform about sources of it. He submitted that Rs 510.7 million were deposited in account of Tariq Mir company but Khawaja Asif did not inform about the reason for depositing the amount, adding that the bureau wanted to interrogate other people in connection with the case. At this stage, the court questioned whether Khawaja Asif pocketed the said amount or not.
To this, the prosecutor replied that it was still to be investigated and it was the reason that further remand was required. However, the court observed that if the amount was deposited and withdrawn by the same person then what was the role of Khawaja Asif.
The prosecutor stated that millions of rupees were deposited and withdrawn from personal accounts of Khawaja Asif, adding that other people were being made part of the investigations and requested for further physical remand.
But, Khawaja Asif’s counsel Farooq H Naik opposed the remand plea, stating that fair trial was the right of every accused as per Article 10 of the Constitution. He submitted that the bureau did not disclose the initiation of the inquiry, adding that the NAB Rawalpindi launched the inquiry in March 2019 but it was then transferred to NAB Lahore.
He submitted that Khawaja Asif responded to five call-up notices of the bureau whereas NAB officials visited Khawaja Asif for four times only during the13 days remand period.
He asked NAB to point out a single crime committed by Khawja Asif, adding that it was not a crime to do business and possess property. He submitted that Khawaja Asif had already submitted all the record to the bureau and pleaded with the court to send him on judicial remand to jail.
The court, after hearing arguments of all parties, extended the physical remand of Khawaja Asif till January 22 and directed the bureau for producing him on expiry of the remand term. The NAB had launched investigations against the PML-N leader under Clause 4 of NAB Ordinance 1999 and section 3 of Anti-Money Laundering Act. It alleged that assets of Khawaja Asif increased substantially which did not correspond to his income. The bureau also stated that Khawaja Asif claimed to receive Rs 130 million from a UAE firm but he failed to present solid evidence in investigations. The bureau also alleged that Khawaja Asif was running a ‘benami’ company.