KARACHI - The Supreme Court of Pakistan on Friday rejected former Sindh information minister Sharjeel Inam Memon’s bail plea in a corruption reference. A three-member bench of SC headed by Justice Mushir Alam conducted hearing on Sharjeel’s bail plea here at the apex court’s Karachi Registry.

Before announcement of the judgement, the court inquired about Sharjeel Memon. The NAB prosecutor replied that he was at the hospital for medical treatment. He said that Memon was shifted to the hospital in May and the hospital has been declared sub-jail.

Sharjeel Memon had sought bail on medical grounds. The plaintiff’s counsel submitted that the medial board constituted by the Sindh health department suggested Sharjeel’s medical treatment abroad therefore his bail plea should be allowed. On the other hand, the NAB prosecutor opposed the plaintiff’s plea and informed the court that Sharjeel Memon was not suffering from any serious disease. He quoted another medical board’s report that was issued by a private medical board, advising him only physiotherapy.  The prosecutor submitted that such facilities are available here. Sharjeel Memon and other under trail prisoners have been provided all required medical facilities. He added that there is no need to allow Sharjeel’s plea on medial grounds.

The court rejected Sharjeel’s plea after hearing final arguments from both sides.

In his previous arguments, the plaintiff’s counsel had submitted that NAB did not have the authority to arrest Memon in the first instance and the law could not be applied differently to different provinces.

The NAB prosecution had stated that it investigated corruption and corrupt practices in the award of advertisements against the law and at exorbitant rates to TV channels and FM radio stations for various awareness campaigns between July 2013 and June 2015. It said it had found that the accused acted in connivance with each other, resulting in losses to the national exchequer. Sharjeel Memon and other officials of the Sindh information department are accused of corruption worth Rs5.76 billion in the award of advertisements of the Sindh government’s awareness campaigns to the electronic media.

According to the NAB prosecution, the accused are involved in awarding contracts to favour certain advertising agencies and to their own favour, in violation of relevant laws and rules and against exorbitant rates.

Sharjeel Memon returned to the country last year after ending his near two-year-long self-imposed exile, was arrested on his arrival by NAB but later obtained bail.

The other accused in the case include bureaucrats, officials of the information department and members of private advertising agencies.

The PPP leader is also facing a separate reference regarding illegal adjustment and consolidation of hundreds of acres of land in favour of a private housing project.

Earlier, the Supreme Court had rejected bail applications moved by Sharjeel Memon and two others.

The accused had challenged the Sindh High Court's decision to reject his bail in the corruption reference.