LHC orders anti-corruption agents to release Haleem Adil

LAHORE – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday declared the arrest of the Opposition Leader in Sindh Assembly Haleem Adil Sheikh as illegal and ordered his immediate release.

The court also granted protective bail to the opposition leader till July 18 in a case registered by Anti-Corruption Establishment, Sindh on the charges of corruption. The court directed the opposition leader to approach the court concerned for grant of pre-arrest bail in the matter.

Justice Ali Baqar Najafi passed the orders while disposing of a petition filed by Muhammad Farhan, an assistant of the opposition leader, for his recovery from illegal detention of the police and other authorities.

The court conducted the hearing of the petition on different intervals during the day, wherein a law officer briefed that a case had been registered against the opposition leader and others at police station, Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE), Jamshoro under section 409, 420, 465, 467, 468, 471 and 34 of Pakistan Penal Code along with section 5(2) of the prevention of Corruption Act 1947. He further submitted that through a letter, the Home department had also sought police assistance for arrest of the opposition leader by the ACE police party.

However, the court noted that the home secretary, Sindh, mentioned that genuineness of relevant documents should be ensured before proceedings in the matter. The court summoned the ACE team at 4.00pm while adjourning the hearing.

Later, the ACE team appeared before the court and stated that they had been deputed for arrest of Haleem Adil Sheikh but they failed to produce any document showing their authority as investigation officer. To which, the court again adjourned the proceedings for a short while and directed to produce Haleem Adil Sheikh, who was arrested by the team.

As proceedings resumed at 5.30pm, the opposition leader was produced before the court, who submitted that he was illegally detained since early morning.

At this stage, the law officer also produced an original letter issued to Lahore CCPO for necessary assistance for the arrest of the opposition leader by the home department.

The law officer also produced other relevant documents besides scanned copies of two notifications regarding appointment of combined investigation team and other officials for investigations of the matter.

The court again adjourned the proceedings till 8.30 pm for announcement of the orders and confirming genuineness of the relevant documents. Subsequently, the court declared the arrest of the opposition leader illegal and ordered his immediate release, besides granting protective bail till July 18.

As per a written court order released after the announcement of the verdict, the court noted that the ACE registered a case against the opposition leader and others at 7.30am on July 6 whereas notification dated July 6 for appointment of the investigation team was produced at 5.30pm.

No notification was produced about the appointment of the investigation officer earlier in the day, it added.

The court noted that the ACE team did not have any original authority letter whereas the record produced also did not reflect any order or warrants of the arrest by ACE Sindh authorities.

The court held that the FIR was registered after the arrest of the opposition leader and the investigating officer did not have any authority to unlawfully detain the opposition leader, in such circumstances. Undoubtedly, FIR stood registered against Haleem Adil Sheikh but the arrest shown by Misri Khan Dhani, ACE Sub-inspector, is prima-facie illegal, it added.

It is pertinent to mention here that the opposition leader was also produced before a magistrate for transit remand, earlier in the day, but the matter was kept pending by the magistrate in view of the petition before the LHC.



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