LAHORE : An accountability court on Saturday granted a 14-day extension in the physical remand of Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique, who are being probed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for their alleged role in the Paragon Housing scam.
The accused persons – both leaders of the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) – were presented before the court amid heightened security. Heavy contingent of police including the Anti-Riot Force (ARF) was deployed on the occasion.
The NAB prosecutor, while demanding an extension in the remand period, pleaded that the accountability body needed physical custody of the accused persons for further investigations in the case.
He claimed that NAB is investigating at least 12 to 13 accounts of Paragon Society. Money amounting to billions of rupees was transferred to accounts of Saad’s son and other relatives and the State Bank of Pakistan highlighted these suspicious transactions.
“NAB has sent notices to many persons for investigations and also will quiz Saad Rafique’s son.”
He also showed a map and claimed that at least 20 plots were owned by the accused. The prosecutor said NAB is also probing other stakeholders including builders and has sent notices to 30 people.
However, the defence counsel opposed an extension in the remand period. He said his clients did not have any connection with the society and the record of plots owned by them was publicly disclosed. “NAB is repeating the same old arguments,” he added.
After hearing the arguments of both the parties, the court reserved the decision for some time, but later allowed an extension in the remand period of the accused persons till January 19.
Khawaja brothers were arrested by NAB from the Lahore High Court (LHC) premises on December 11 when the LHC rejected their request for an extension in their pre-arrest bail in the case.
NAB, while revealing grounds for their arrest, had stated that Saad, in connivance with his wife Ghazala Butt, brother Salman, Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia, started a housing project named Air Avenue. Later on, it was changed into Paragon City Limited. Record showed that it was an illegal housing society.
The accused 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 were collecting heavy amounts despite clear directions from the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).