LAHORE - An accountability court here yesterday indicted opposition leaders Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz in Ramzan Sugar Mills case.  However, the father and the son – who are facing multiple corruption cases – pleaded not guilty to the charges in the mills case.

Shehbaz is the president of PML-N and the Leader of Opposition in the National Assembly. He is also a former long-time Punjab chief minister. His son Hamza is Leader of Opposition in the Punjab Assembly. The duo yesterday appeared before Special Judge Accountability Court Syed Najamul Hassan Bukhari in connection with the Ashiana-e-Iqbal Housing Scheme and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases. As both the PML-N bigwigs pleaded to contest the charges levelled by the NAB, the court summoned prosecution witnesses for recording their statement on next date and adjourned the hearing.

Strict security arrangements were made at the court on this occasion, and a number of party workers were present there to express support for their leaders.

In sugar mills reference, the National Accountability Bureau has alleged that Shehbaz, as Punjab chief minister, misused his authority and got built a sludge carrier of 10 kilometers in Chiniot district to facilitate his sons’ mills namely Ramzan Sugar Mills .

The alleged power abuse caused a loss of Rs213 million to the national kitty, according to the accountability watchdog.

Earlier the NAB made frantic efforts to secure arrest of the PML-N leaders but a division bench of the Lahore High Court has granted bail to Shehbaz in both the Ashiana-e-Iqbal and Ramzan Sugar Mills cases.

Another LHC division bench granted pre-arrest interim bail to Hamza until April 17 in assets-beyond-means case and barred the NAB from arresting him.

Hamza was granted bail when he moved the LHC following recent NAB raids on his residence for his arrest.

The bureau claims that an illegal transaction of Rs3 billion was made to Hamza’s account.

Shehbaz family’s ‘aide’ remanded in NAB custody

An accountability court yesterday remanded an alleged aide of Shehbaz Sharif family in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) till April 23 in a money laundering case.

Last Monday, accused M Mushtaq was arrested from Allama Iqbal International Airport when he was allegedly trying to leave for Dubai

A NAB team produced the accused before Special Judge Accountability Court Jawadul Hassan and sought his physical remand for investigations.

The officials told the court that the accused connived with Shehbaz Sharif family in laundering money. The accountability watchdog alleged that accused Mushtaq had transferred more than Rs500 million to an account of Salman Shehbaz, the son of PML-N leader and Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif.

After hearing arguments, the court after remanding the accused in NAB custody for 14 days, directed the officials to produce him on expiry of the remand term.

Law enforcers had arrested him on Monday from Lahore airport when he was trying to leave for Dubai The NAB had already arrested two accused namely Fazal Dad and Qasim Qayyum on accusation of money laundering for Shehbaz family. The other accused are already on physical remand in NAB custody until April 19.

The NAB accuses them of facilitating Shehbaz, his sons Hamza and Salman in laundering huge money in the name of remittances.

The NAB launched the inquiry after a State Bank of Pakistan report dated Jan 12, 2018 found “suspicious cash transactions in the bank accounts of Shehbaz and his sons”.