LAHORE - Accountability Court Lahore presided over by Syed Najamul Hassan yesterday remanded PML-N lawmakers Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique to NAB custody for 10 days in Paragon Housing Society land scam.

The NAB had pressed for 15 days physical custody of Khawaja brothers to investigate charges cropped up after the statement of Qaiser Amin Butt, their alleged business partner, who is an approver against them now. The court, which had reserved the decision after hearing the counsel on both sides, handed the brothers over to NAB for 10 days with direction to provide them all necessary facilities and medicines with undertaking by NAB DG to this effect. The court directed the NAB to produce Khawaja brothers again on December 22.

Khawaja Saad and Khawaja Salman were earlier brought to the court amid tight security inside and outside the premises of the Judicial Complex. Public movement was restricted inside and on the road by way of laying barbed wires and heavy deputation of police and the ARF. The NAB had taken Khawaja brothers into custody from Lahore High Court premises on Tuesday when their protective bail was rejected.

NAB Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua told the court about the charges against the accused to dub them as real owners and beneficiary of Paragon Housing Society which, he added, did not own land and looted the public to the tune of billions of rupees by way of bogus allotments.

He argued that Khawaja Saad, his spouse and brother along with Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia had launched Air Avenue Society which later on was renamed Paragon Housing Society. On the record, it was developed without legal authority. He said the accused secured heavy financial gains in league with Qaiser and Zia by deceiving members of the society. He said despite clear instructions of the LDA, the accused continued to collect money from the members. He also charged Saad with getting 40 kanals of land in the name of his brother Salman and also that they had been illegally involved in marketing, commercialisation of the land and expansion of their projects misusing their authority. Their act, he argued, earned them money to the tune of billions of rupees causing loss to members and the state. He said the plots allotted to the members in fact did not belong to the society. He said as many as 90 persons had been reached out who were not given land despite making payment for that. He argued that Paragon had only 1100 kanals of land but it was expanded on 7000 kanals. The prosecutor affirmed when the court quizzed if Khawaja brothers had been joining the inquiry. He also told the court that Nadeem Zia was absconder while Qaiser Amin was in custody and the latter had made revelations about the accused in relation to their status and gains in the society which in fact was a bogus society with incomplete and missing record. The court remarked that NAB should see from where the alleged bogus activity started and recover rest of the record from the one who provided the material in hand. The prosecutor said Sadan Associates belonged to Khawaja Saad while KSR Company to Khawaja Salman and Rs100million were transferred to their accounts from Executive Builders, a Benami company of the society. He said Shahid Butt was the business partner of the accused and according to him, land valuing Rs four billion was sold out by Saad Rafique. In order to verify his statement, the court desired to seek appearance of Shahid Butt.

Counsel for Khawaja brothers, Amjad Pervez countered the charges and said the NAB had been inquiring into the charges against his client since March 6 last while previously during the era of Pervez Musharraf, a thorough inquiry was held into their assets and properties for three years but nothing illegal was found out. He said both the brothers have been regularly appearing before the NAB whenever called and added, in the record of Security Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) Qaiser and Nadeem Zia were owners of the society while 16 cases between Shahid Butt and the society were in litigation. Khawaja brothers had no nexus and relation with Shahid, he said adding, over the last 15 years nothing had been proved that his client had any connection with the society. He said after Qaiser Amin became approver, it appeared the matter was anyone else than the one in hand.

During the course of hearing, Khawaja Saad complained that he had not been provided proper medicines and he had been treated badly in custody.