LAHORE - Ahad Cheema, once known as a “star bureaucrat” under Shehbaz Sharif government in Punjab, is most likely to be arrested in another mega corruption scandal as the national accountability bureau widens the scope investigation involving public sector companies.

An official familiar with the development on Saturday told The Nation that the second reference for holding “assets beyond means” would be filed by the anti-graft body within a couple of days.

Cheema, who served on key posts for years in Punjab and right under the nose of the former chief minister, is currently on judicial remand till July 4. Shehbaz Sharif is also bound to appear before the combined investigation team of the NAB in Lahore on July 5 in connection with the Punjab Power Development Company case. In this regard the “call up” notices were sent to both the residences of the PML-N President in Lahore’s Model Town on Friday.

Cheema was arrested by the anti-graft watchdog months ago after he did not appear before the investigators despite repeated calls. His arrest sparked outrage among the provincial hierarchy and some senior officers protested over the abrupt raid.

Sources believe that Cheema could be arrested again in the second reference in case he completes his prison remand. They said that NAB had already collected “very important” evidences to establish facts against Cheema.

The NAB officials also expect more arrests in the days ahead since names of a few owners of a private housing society have also been included in the second corruption reference.

The NAB’s decision to file second reference against the same officer comes one day after the authority filed a corruption reference against him in the case of Ashiyana Housing Scheme. The officer allegedly received kickbacks while awarding contracts illegally.

“The reference filed by NAB on Friday comprises of 11 volumes having with more than 3000 pages. The officer had misused his powers by issuing (illegal) directions,” a source explained.

According to the first reference, the illegal actions taken by the officer caused losses worth Rs 400 billion to the kitty. Also, he awarded contracts for developing Ashiyana Housing Scheme to private bidders against the rules. The NAB court has sent the reference to the Court No 5. Now, a judge of the Accountability Court, Syed Najam-ul-Hassan, will hear the case.

NAB officials say the second reference to be filed against Cheema is about holding assets beyond means. Reportedly, NAB decided to register another case against Cheema after they found new evidences against the accused during course of investigation regarding the River Ravi Zone Front Development Project.

Earlier, Cheema was arrested by NAB for misusing his authority and, with criminal intent, processing and awarding Ashiyana-e-lqbal project contract worth Rs14 billion to Lahore CASA Developers. The contract, in connivance with other accused persons, was awarded in violation of PPP Act, 2014.

The Bismillah Engineering Company’s owner Shahid Shafiq, LDA Chief Engineer Israr Saeed, Punjab Land Development Company Chief Engineer Col. (retired) Arif Majeed, former Chief Executive Officer PLDC Imtiaz Haider and another PLDC official Bilal Qudwai were named as co-accused in the first reference filed against Cheema.

The investigation further revealed that Bismillah Engineering Services Co (a major shareholder of JV titled Lahore CASA Developers) was a proxy firm working on behalf of Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd. Cheema allegedly had received illegal gratification in the form of 32 Kanals of land (valuing Rs30.09 million approximately) from the owners of Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd.