A team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) accompanied by police on Tuesday reached the residence of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif to once again arrest him, this time in the assets beyond means case.
Videos available with The Current showed a contingent of police’s anti-rioting force also reaching the PML-N chief’s Model Town residence in Lahore to make the arrest that comes after Shehbaz, being a cancer survivor, once again avoided appearing before the anti-graft watchdog amid the coronavirus outbreak.
The teams, however, had to return empty-handed as the leader of opposition in the National Assembly (NA), who has also sought pre-arrest bail in the case, was not at home.
The teams were headed to the Sharif family’s Jati Umra residence near Raiwind by the filing of this report.
PRE-ARREST BAIL AND THE CASE:
Earlier in the day, Shehbaz filed a bail plea in the Lahore High Court (LHC) to avoid arrest in the assets beyond means and money laundering cases against him, which is to be taken up by the court tomorrow (Wednesday).
NAB had summoned the PML-N president to record his statement in both cases today (June 2) as the bureau needs Shehbaz’s statement to bring the cases to their logical conclusion.
It had also provided the ex-Punjab chief minister (CM) with a detailed questionnaire as per its standard operating procedure (SoPs), which the PML-N says was submitted by the younger Sharif’s lawyers.
However, Shehbaz on Monday filed a petition in the LHC requesting the court to grant him bail before arrest in both the cases “in the interest of justice”. He requested that he might also be admitted to ad-interim pre-arrest bail till the decision of the petition.
The petitions said the power to arrest was permissive and not obligatory and the arrest was not desirable even in most heinous offences so long as the accused cooperated and kept joining the investigation.
According to The Express Tribune, The PML-N president contended that on October 31, 2017, a complaint was made to various authorities including NAB chairman against management of the public limited companies in Punjab. The complaint claimed that the companies were incorporated and operated in violation of the Constitution and law.
On November 15, 2017, NAB director general (DG) ordered an inquiry into the complaint “in a slipshod and mechanical manner, without application of judicious mind”.
On January 10, 2018, the director general passed an order under section 18(C) of NAO 1999 for an inquiry into against management/officers/officials of Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC), management /owners of M/s Lahore CASA Developers (JV) and officers/officials of the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) in Lahore’s Ashiana housing scheme.
Shehbaz said the above-said order was passed on the basis of an anonymous complaint and neither the complaint nor the order for inquiry mentioned the name of the petitioner or his office “yet under its cover”, NAB officials embarked upon “a fishing and sniffing expedition” against him.
On October 5, 2018, when Shehbaz appeared before a NAB team in response to call up notice in the matter of Saaf Paani Company but he was arrested in Ashiana case.
During his 64 physical remand, the PML-N chief was also arrested in Ramzan Sugar Mills/Construction of Sullage Carrier case. He was still in NAB’s custody when NAB authorized yet another inquiry against the petitioner and others in assets beyond means case.
Later, the petitioner was granted bail after arrest in both the above said cases but just after one week’s time of his bail, NAB put his name in the Exit Control List (ECL) – the country’s no-fly list.
“The petitioner assailed the above said memorandum February 21, 2019 before this court and his petition was allowed.” He contended that NAB served him another call up notice requiring his appearance before the CIT on April 17, 2020.
Shehbaz said he did not appear before NAB team in view of his ill health and the lockdown. Later NAB again issued call up notice requiring his presence on April 22, 2020.
“However, hectic efforts were made and a comprehensive reply was submitted within time with an assurance of personal appearance after the holy month of Ramazan subject to lifting of the lockdown.”
Later, the petitioner appeared before the CIT whereupon he was interrogated for about 2 hours, however, he could not be confronted with any evidence worth name on record to show any act of commission or omission by him to attract the mischief of any offence under NAO 1999.
“That now the petitioner has again been served with a call up notice for June 2, 2020 requiring his personal appearance and written reply before CIT,” it added.