Court extends Rafique’s remand period by 15 days

Orders NAB to produce the accused on January 5


Our Correspondent December 22, 2018
Rafique on Friday described the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) law as a “black law” and alleged that it had been used to victimise political opponents since the beginning. PHOTO: FILE

LAHORE:  

An accountability court allowed an extension of 15 day in the physical remand of former federal minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother, Salman Rafique, in the Paragon Housing Society scam on Saturday.

The accused were presented before the court after their initial physical remand of 10 days expired on Saturday. Saad Rafique was brought from Islamabad since he was on transit remand to attend the National Assembly session.

Strict security arrangements were made on the occasion. A heavy contingent of police including the Anti-Riot Force (ARF) was deployed. The roads leading towards the court premises were also blocked using barbed wires and containers.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor pleaded an extension of 15 days in the physical remand of the accused persons. He said Qaiser Amin Butt, another accused in the scam, in his statement said the accused persons were the owners of the housing project.

Butt also revealed that another accused in the case, Nadeem Zia was a relative of the accused persons.

During the initial ten days physical remand, NAB had probed transfer of funds between different stakeholders. He said NAB had found that funds amounting to millions of rupees were directly received by the accused Saad Rafique.

He said they had received complaints of over 100 victims of the project. A victim has alleged that his 200 kanals was included in Paragon City without any payment. NAB during probe also found selling of 40 kanals of government land also.

The counsel of the accused persons opposed the extension in the remand. The court after listening to arguments allowed an extension in the physical remand and asked NAB prosecution to produce the accused persons before court on January 05.

Khawaja brothers were arrested by NAB from Lahore High Court (LHC) premises on December 11 when their request for an extension in pre-arrest bail in the case was rejected by the Lahore High Court (LHC).

NAB while revealing grounds of their arrest had stated that Saad Rafique in connivance with his wife Ghazala Saad Rafique Butt, brother Salman Rafique, and Qaiser Amin Butt, Nadeem Zia started a housing project named Air Avenue. Later on, it was changed into M/s Paragon City (Pvt) Limited. Record showed that it was an illegal housing society.

Rafique brothers’ NAB nightmare comes true

The accused persons in connivance with Nadeem Zia and Qaiser Amin Butt defrauded large members of the society. They also embezzled the illegal housing society projects funds for personal gains. The accused persons were collecting heavy amounts despite clear direction from Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

Saad Rafique got allocated 40 kanals of plots against his and his brother Salman Rafique’s name. They, by misusing their government position, extended the project illegally and benefited by selling many commercial plots amounting up to billions of rupees.

The fact is that these plots were not property of the Paragon Housing Society. They also committed corruption by defrauding the customers.

The accused persons could temper case files hence taint the prosecution. The arrest of the accused persons was necessary for recovery of embezzled amount, collection of evidences for inquiry, investigations and culmination of the investigations to the logical end.

Few weeks back, Qaiser Amin Butt had recorded a statement before a magistrate that he was Khawaja Saad Rafique’s business partner in Paragon Housing Society. He was in NAB’s custody. However, few months back, Rafique had denied before the Supreme Court any connection to the Paragon Society.

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