LAHORE            -          A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Thursday adjourned hearing of petitions, filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Speaker Punjab Assembly, against three inquiries by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) against them.

Chaudhry brothers ‘ counsel Amjad Pervaiz did not appear before the bench due to coronavirus concerns as some employees of Amjad Pervaiz’s office were tested positive for COVID-19,stated Lahore High Court Bar (LHCB)  president. The LHCB and secretary requested the bench to adjourn the hearing.

The bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry heard the petitions.

Chaudhry brothers had challenged NAB investigations on charges of misuse of authority, wilful default and assets beyond means against them. Chaudhry brothers submitted that the bureau had launched investigations against them on the aforementioned charges in year 2000.

They submitted that the bureau had failed to find an iota of evidence against them during the past 19 years. They further submitted that it was learnt that the investigation officer and regional board recommended closure of the investigation in 2017and 2018, but it was not closed due to malafide intentions.

In their petition, Chaudhry brothers maintained that the NAB chairman, on February 14, 2019 had ordered bifurcation and reinvestigation of the matter. They contended that the investigation and subsequent proceedings were illegal. They pleaded with the court for setting aside the investigations being illegal.

On the other side, the NAB rejected the stance of the Chaudhry brothers taken in their petitions regarding the pending inquiries. It said, “Chairman of the NAB has not taken any final decision on these cases or issued any order that could be challenged before the court.”

Sugar mills case: Shehbaz, Hamza indictment delayed

An accountability court on Thursday delayed indictment of Opposition leader in National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Hamza Shehbaz, in supplementary reference of Ramzan Sugar Mills case.

The court delayed the indictment due to non-appearance of Shehbaz Sharif after being tested positive for COVID-19.  Accountability Court Judge Amjad Nazir Chaudhry conducted the proceedings of the case, wherein jail authorities produced Hamza Shehbaz. Shehbaz Sharif’s counsel argued before the court that his client had been tested positive for COVID-19 and he had quarantined himself, in response to a court query.

He further stated that Shehbaz’s test report had already been submitted in the court. He pleaded with the court to adjourn the matter for three weeks. At this, the court questioned whether the COVID-19 patient was quarantined for three weeks.

The counsel submitted that after 14-days quarantine period, the patient was again tested. Subsequently,  the court adjourned hearing of the case till July 1. The court had summoned Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz for indictment in supplementary reference filed by National Accountability Bureau in Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Hamza and his father former Chief Minister Punjab Shehbaz Sharif  were accused in the case. As per reference, NAB accused Shehbaz Sharif of misuse of authority in Ramzan Sugar Mills case. Shehbaz Sharif, allegedly approved an amount of Rs210 million for the construction of the drain to benefit the mill. Hamza has been charged in the case for being the chief executive of the Ramzan Sugar Mills.