LAHORE: Former Bank of Punjab (BoP) president Hamesh Khan was presented before an Accountability Court (AC) on Saturday.
The court handed him over to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on a 14-day remand. The high-profile banker was escorted from New York to Lahore by the NAB deputy prosecutor-general Raja Aamir and the bureau’s Punjab deputy director Rizwan Khan. They were accompanied by a Pakistan embassy official to ensure that Khan, who is also a US citizen, is not mistreated by NAB or the police.
Khan is the principal accused in the 9 billion Bank of Punjab (BoP) scam and was extradited from the US on the orders of the three-member bench hearing the case regarding his alleged involvement in the scam. Security was very tight as he was presented before the court and denied access to the media. Sources at the court said that the court had accepted NAB’s demand for a 14- day remand of Khan. After the brief hearing, Khan was taken back to Chambha House.
NAB spokesperson Muhammad Hussnain said that during his remand, Khan will be investigated thoroughly adding that they will question him regarding his alleged illegal sanctioning of loans. Hussnain said that US authorities had taken assurances from NAB that Khan will not be subjected to any physical torture during his investigation adding that NAB uses scientific methods for its investigations and does not physically torture suspects.
Hussnain stressed that any involvement of any politician in the scam will be proved during the investigation. So far, about Rs6 billion has been recovered from the co-accused of the Haris Steel Mills case and handed over to the BoP. According to the Standing Operating Procedures (SOP) of NAB Khan will be allowed to meet with his family members every Monday. Khan will be presented before the court of Chief Justice Iftikhar Muhammad Chaudary on May 26.
Published in the Express Tribune, May 16th, 2010.
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