LHC announces decision on Aleem Khan bail plea
LAHORE – A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench Monday adjourned the hearing of Abdul Aleem Khan’s bail petition till May 15.
The division bench, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, heard the bail petition, filed by the former senior provincial minister in the offshore companies and assets case.
At the outset of the proceedings, the NAB prosecutor submitted that the bureau had written letters for seeking a 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.
He submitted that Aleem Khan’s assets increased manifold during a short span of time whereas the bureau had solid evidence against him.
However, Aleem’s counsel Barrister Ali Zafar submitted that his client was behind the bars since February 6. He said that as per law, the prosecution was bound to establish the case beyond a reasonable doubt, but it had miserably failed to prove anything against his client.
He said that the bureau had already admitted in its reply that investigations were still underway and required further probe. It means that after completing investigations, a reference may or may not be filed, he added, saying 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. “NAB 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 the petitioner,” he added.
He submitted that the bureau had failed to prove any nexus yet, as there was no allegation against his client that he committed any corruption or misused the government fund as a minister from 2003 to 2007. He submitted that in the absence of such an allegation, no offence could be made out.
Zafar also pointed out that AA (Pvt) Limited had declared all its assets to the tax authorities and the tax authorities, through various orders, had accepted that the company had sources of funds to purchase the properties.
Barrister Zafar submitted that since the source of funds accepted by the FBR was more than the assets, hence the offence under Section 9(a)(v) of the NAB Ordinance of possessing assets beyond means was not even prima facie established.
At this, the court directed 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 the further hearing till May 15.
Meanwhile, an accountability court on Monday extended judicial remand of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader and former senior provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan in assets beyond means case till May 27.
Accountability Court Judge Syed Jawadul Hassan conducted the case proceedings wherein Abdul Aleem Khan was also produced.
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials apprised 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 will be filed in the court, they stated in response to a court query about the reference. They requested the court for granting time for the purpose.
However, Aleem Khan’s counsel opposed the NAB request, saying that if the record was not received from abroad on time then what will happen.
The court, after hearing detailed arguments of the parties, accepted the NAB officials’ request and adjourned the matter till May 27, besides extending judicial remand of Aleem Khan.