HYDERABAD: In a multi-million rupees graft case, the anti-corruption court in Hyderabad has granted interim bail to provincial minister Makhdoom Jameeluz Zaman, while summoning him on the next hearing.
Zaman is among 16 persons charged by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) in an FIR on November 12, 2013, for alleged embezzlement of Rs75 million federal funds. Earlier, the Sindh High Court granted protective bail to Zaman for 10 days on April 3.
The special judge, Abdul Ghafoor Kalhoro, granted the pre-arrest bail to the provincial minister till April 16 when he will have to appear before the court for confirmation of the bail. Zaman has also been directed to cooperate with the investigation officer.
The FIR contains sections 409, 468, 471, 109, 477-A and 34 of the Pakistan Penal Code read with Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947. According to the FIR, Matiari deputy commissioner's (DC) office received the sum from the prime minister's special fund, when Pakistan Peoples Party was in the Centre, for development in the NA-218 constituency.
The development was to be carried out through the ministry of housing and works. However, the DC office transferred the funds to the municipal administrations of Matiari, Hala and Saeedabad talukas for the utilisation allegedly without fulfilling the official requirements.
The accused have been charged with preparing various fake documents to misappropriate the funds. They include former DC Shahid Zafar Laghari, taluka municipal officers Syed Wali Muhammad Shah, Ghulam Mustafa Sanai and Imran Hyder Shah. Few others persons, including Kashif Memon, secretary to the minister, and some private contractors are also nominated.
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In his bail plea, Zaman stated that he is a politician and, therefore, faced the political rivalries and frivolous allegations. "... complaints are being made against the petitioner throughout his career."
He indirectly blamed Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz for the case, claiming that the complaint has been filed under political influence of the N-league's federal government.
On February 28, 2018, after several years of contention, the anti-corruption court settled the point of jurisdiction as the accused had challenged that the provincial court cannot hear the case filed by the FIA. The court maintained that though the case related to federal funding, all the accused are provincial employees or private contractors.
Zaman, who is also a spiritual leader of Sarwari Jamaat, is the son of late Makhdoom Amin Fahim, PPP-Parliamentarians former president and federal minister.
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