LAHORE - A national accountability court Tuesday allowed 14-day physical remand of former chairman and former chief executive officer of Punjab Saaf Pani Company Raja Qamarul Islam and Waseem Ajmal.

NAB judge Syed Najamul Hassan passed the order after the NAB officials produced the two suspects in the court amid tight security.  The counsels of the suspects said that NAB officials arrested them illegally as there was no complaint against Punjab Saaf Pani project.

The counsel of Islam contended that his client was being made victim on political grounds. He said he was taken into custody by the NAB officials after he was given PML-N ticket to contest election in NA-59—the constituency from where Ch Nisar Ali Khan is also a candidate.

He said his arrest at this moment would ruin his political career as the election season is on the peak and the voters would doubt his fairness.  Being chairman of Punjab Saaf Pani Company, the lawyer said, Islam had no powers to examine its record and he was not aware of the procurement rules.

The counsel said that he was law abiding citizen and appeared before the NAB authorities in compliance of their notices but they took him into custody.

However, the NAB prosecutor opposed the arguments of Islam’s counsel and said that Islam was involved in awarding contracts of 84 water filtration plants at higher rates. The prosecutor said he also illegally approved 102 plants of the project from company’s board of directors.  He claimed Waseem Ajmal, the other accused, violated procurement rules and water plants were installed in Dunyapur Tehsil in violation of the project’s rules and regulations.  Waseem Ajmal, however, rejected the allegations saying that there had been 26 surplus water filtration plants which were to be installed somewhere. He said NAB did not receive any complaint and neither it had complete information of the project. He said he fully cooperated with the NAB investigators and obeyed its orders regarding investigation of the matter. Ajmal pleaded the court that there was no need of physical remand.

After hearing both sides, the NAB court granted 14-day physical remand of the suspects into NAB custody, with directions to the authorities to produce them on the next date of hearing. The court adjourned further hearing until July 09.