Lahore: A Pakistani court on Tuesday extended the remand of PML-N chief and opposition leader Shahbaz Sharif by 14 days in the Rs 1,400 crore housing scam.
Shahbaz, 67, the younger brother of ousted prime minister Nawaz Sharif, was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on October 5 in the Ashiana-e-Iqbal housing project scam. He was remanded to a 10-day custody to NAB.
The former Punjab chief minister was brought to the accountability court amid high security. A large number of PML-N workers were also present at the court premises.
He told the accountability court judge Najamul Hasan that he had committed no illegality in the award of the contract (in the housing project).
He also said the NAB was unable find any evidence against him during his 10-day remand.
Shahbaz asked why the NAB wanted extension of his remand when he was fully cooperating.
“No NAB official investigated me in the last three days,” he said, adding that his government had followed the legal procedure in award of contract the housing project.
“I have served the country and saved billions of rupees in different development projects during my tenure as chief minister (2008-2018),” he said.
Shahbaz’s counsel opposed the extension of his remand, saying the NAB has failed to present any proof of his involvement in the scam.
“Therefore the NAB’s plea for further extension to his client’s remand be dismissed,” he said, adding that the case against Shahbaz had been instituted on “political grounds” as he had not issued any illegal orders being the chief minister.
The NAB prosecutor requested the court to grant extend Shahbaz’s remand, which was accepted.
The court remanded Shahbaz into NAB’s custody for another 14 days (till October 30).
Shahbaz is accused of ordering the cancellation of a contract given to successful bidder Chaudhry Latif and Sons in the Ashiana housing in order to oblige his ‘favourite fir’ – Lahore Casa Developers, resulting in a loss of Rs 193 million to the exchequer.
He is also accused of directing the Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) to award the consultancy services of the Ashiana project to Engineering Consultancy Services Punjab (ECSP) for Rs 192 million while the actual cost was supposed to be Rs 35 million as quoted by Nespak.
Nawaz Sharif has termed his brother’s arrest as political victimisation. “Shahbaz Sharif being the chief minister of Punjab had set great examples of transparency and honesty in all projects. The Imran Khan’s government is responsible for this political victimization.”
Meanwhile, NAB may take Shahbaz to Islamabad on Wednesday to take part in the National Assembly session. The NA Speaker has already issued production order of Shahbaz, directing the NAB to allow him to take part in the parliament session. (PTI)
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