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LHC grants bail to Shehbaz Sharif in money laundering case

Written by The Frontier Post

LAHORE (APP): The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday granted bail to Opposition Leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in assets beyond means and money laundering case.

The court directed Shehbaz Sharif for submitting two surety bonds of Rs 5 million to avail the relief.

The division bench comprising Justice Sardar Muhammad Sarfraz Dogar and Justice Asjad Javaid Ghural heard the post arrest bail petition filed by Shehbaz Sharif.

As the proceedings started, NAB Prosecutor Faisal Bukhari advanced his final arguments and opposed Shehbaz Sharif’s bail plea.

He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif family inherited Ramzan Sugar Mills only whereas their assets were about Rs 16.5 million before 1990. However, their assets reached Rs 7 billion in 2018 and there were nine benamidars who owned many assets, he added.

He submitted that Shehbaz Sharif family assets increased rapidly after they started receiving Telegraphic transfers (TTs) from abroad. Hamza and Salman received TTs from abroad and gave them to their mother, Nusrat Shehbaz, who did not have any other source of income, he added. He submitted that Nusrat Shehbaz owned assets worth of Rs 299 million and 26 TTs of worth Rs 137 million were transferred to her account and two houses , 96 H and 87 H, were purchased from the money.

He further submitted that Shehbaz Sharif claimed that he earned a profit of Rs 124 million but did not disclose the business.

To this, Shehbaz’s counsel submitted that no witness had given a statement against Shehbaz Sharif yet.

To which, the prosecutor replied that if Shehbaz Sharif considered himself innocent then he should move an acquittal application with the trial court.

At this stage, the court observed that if the details of assets were submitted to the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) then why did the FBR not question it. If the FBR had jurisdiction to look into the matter then why the NAB was probing the issue, it added.

The counsel for petitioner argued that a report of the FBR had been submitted and all details had been provided in it. He submitted that an audit of more than six-year-old record could not be held whereas his client was seventy years old and could not maintain the record.

The court, after hearing the arguments, reserved its verdict for a short while but, later, granted bail to Shehbaz Sharif with a direction to submit surety bonds for the purpose.

A day earlier, the counsel for Shehbaz Sharif had concluded his arguments, saying that all assets had been declared by his client whereas all allegations against him were baseless.

He submitted that his client was seventy years old but also suffered from many diseases. He submitted that the trial court was recording statements of the witnesses whereas the conclusion of the trial was not in sight. He submitted that already many co-accused had been granted benefit of bail in the case,therefore, bail be granted to his client as well.

It is pertinent to mention here that Shehbaz Sharif was arrested on Sept 28 after the LHC denied him further relief of pre-arrest bail in the case. He remained in the NAB’s custody for 23 days till the trial court sent him on judicial remand on Oct 20, 2020.

The NAB had nominated 16 persons as accused in the case. However, only 10, out of 16 , were indicted y-et. Besides Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz, Javeria Ali, Fazl Dad Abbasi, Rashid Karamat, Usman, Masroor Anwar, Nisar Ahmad, Shoaib Qamar, and Qasim Qayyum had been indicted in the case.

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