Former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi was handed over to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) on a five-day physical remand on Wednesday, for his alleged involvement in the multi-million-rupee Hajj scam.
Kazmi was produced before the court of Senior Civil Judge Muhammad Aslam Gondal. The court sent him on a physical remand and directed that he be produced before the court on March 21.
During the hearing, Assistant Director (legal) Khalid Naeem Butt requested the court for a 14-day physical remand for Kazmi. Butt told the court that the special court had rejected his pre-arrest application and the FIA wanted his physical remand for further investigation in the case.
He said that they had already presented evidence before the special court in Rawalpindi, which showed that Kazmi was involved in the Hajj scam.
Butt added that Kazmi had close links with Ahmed Faiz, a building supervisor in Saudi Arabia, who is the main accused in the case and had allegedly been working on Kazmi’s directions.
The director said that Kazmi also had foreign accounts by which he had made transactions that indicate his involvement in the Hajj corruption case.
Defence counsel Malik Jawad Khalid was not present before the court, but Kazmi said that from day one, he had cooperated with the investigators. “I am surprised by yesterday’s decision of the court to reject my pre-arrest application,” he said. He told the court that he had been falsely implicated and pleaded innocence. Justifying the 314 canals of land he owns in Multan, Kazmi said that it was a gift given to him.
On Tuesday, the FIA had arrested the former minister after the special court rejected his pre-arrest application. Earlier, on February 21, the court had granted him interim bail and directed the FIA to submit a complete record before the court. A case was registered against Kazmi under sections 409, 403, 404 and 109 of the Criminal Procedure Court for his alleged involvement in the scam.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 17th, 2011.