LAHORE  -    An accountability court on Wednesday sent former provincial minister Sibtain Khan and three others to jail on judicial remand till July 17 in Chiniot mining contract case after rejecting the National Accountability Bureau (NAB)’s request of extension in their physical remand.

On expiry of the remand term, the NAB officials produced the accused before Special Judge Accountability Court Ameer Muhammad Khan. The accused included the former minister, former secretary, Mines and Minerals Department Imtiaz Ahmed; former manager operations and planning Muhammad Aslam and former chief inspector mines Punjab Abdul Sattar.

The NAB prosecutor submitted a report about investigations conducted so far and requested for extension in the physical remand of the accused. He contended that rules were ignored in awarding the contract whereas summary was forwarded to chief minister for approval, a day before end of government term. He submitted their physical remand be extended.

On the NAB request, the court remarked that the bureau had obtained their physical remand on the same grounds during the last hearing.

The NAB official argued that the accused’s physical remand was required to get information about those who directed the committee for awarding the contract to a new company.

After hearing the NAB version, the court turned down the request for extension in the physical remand term and sent the accused to jail on judicial remand. The court directed officials to produce them on expiry of the remand term. On June 15, 2019, Sibtain Khan resigned from his position as provincial minister for Forestry, Fisheries and Wildlife after being arrested by the NAB.

Sibtain Khan was arrested on the charges of awarding a multi-billion-dollar contract to an alleged fake company in 2007.

As Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) minister for mines and minerals at that time he had awarded a contract for extracting minerals in Chiniot district.

NAB had also accused former secretary Imtiaz Ahmad of constituting a committee comprising Muhammad Aslam and Abdul Sattar on the directions of then minister Sibtain Khan for approval of the said contract. During the process, former chief inspector mines Abdul Sattar provided a fake survey to the technical committee. Also, the operations manager Muhammad Aslam provided fake financial and technical figures. NAB alleged that the accused in connivance with former minister, did a joint venture with the firm.