LAHORE - The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday granted bail to Fawad Hassan Fawad, the former principal secretary to the prime minister, in the assets beyond means case. Fawad, who was principal secretary of former prime minister Nawaz Sharif, had filed a second petition in the Lahore High Court for his post-arrest bail on fresh grounds in the case.

The court granted the relief to Fawad subject to furnishing of Rs10 million surety bonds. Earlier, the court had denied bail to the country’s top bureaucrat in the assets beyond means case while allowed his bail petition in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case. During yesterday’s hearing, Amjad Pervaiz Advocate representing Mr Fawad argued that his client was arrested without any justification in assets beyond means case.

He told the two-member bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had failed to provide evidence in support of its allegations against Fawad. He submitted that the accountability watchdog had first claimed that Fawad was owner of a plaza worth Rs5 billion and now it was claiming that his family owns assets worth Rs1.08 billion. The counsel further argued that the NAB was now alleging that the property in the name of his wife and brother was benami asset. The bail petition filed by Fawad says, “I have no personal home except the government residence. I am imprisoned in jail for last one-and-half year without any crime.

My health has deteriorated and medical treatment is not possible in jail.”  Denying the NAB allegations that he owned a plaza worth Rs5 billion and 14 “benami” bank accounts, the petitioner submitted that the property was owned by a company of his family members and brother. He detailed that the plaza situated in Rawalpindi was built with a bank loan and the Federal Board of Revenue had complete record in this respect since 1995. In the petition, he submitted that an order be passed for his release on bail in the assets beyond means case.

On July 5, 2018, Fawad was arrested in the Ashiyana-i-Iqbal Housing scam while investigation was launched against him into assets beyond means matter on August 3, 2018.

In the Ashiana-i-Iqbal case, Fawad is allegedly involved in Rs14 billion fraud. In 2013, when he was implementation secretary to former Punjab chief minister Shahbaz Sharif, he is accused of pressurising Punjab Land Development Company (PLDC) Chief Executive Officer Tahir Khursheed and Project Director Ali Moazzam for the cancelation of a contract with M/S Chaudhry Latif and sons.

He is also accused of awarding the same contract to a blue-eyed firm M/S Lahore Casa Developers, as per the NAB allegations. Lahore Casa Developers is allegedly a proxy group of Paragon City (Pvt) Limited “owned” by former Railways minister and PML-N leader Saad Rafique.