Accountability court grants 15 day extension in Durrani's physical remand

Durrani's lawyers maintain the arrest was illegal, NAB claims the investigation is progressing

Our Correspondent March 31, 2019
File photo of Agha Siraj Durrani. PHOTO: FILE

KARACHI: An administrative judge of the accountability court extended the physical remand of Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani on Saturday till April 12 in the case pertaining to assets beyond declared income.

National Accountability Bureau (NAB) officials presented Durrani before the court.

NAB prosecutor maintained that their investigation had reached a turning point. "The people under whose names the pay orders were made have been identified but when they were issued notices they secured bails," said the NAB prosecutor.

Accountability court extends Agha Durrani’s physical remand by 10 days

"They are not appearing and their statements are crucial to the case," he added. The prosecutor informed the court that the police have submitted a report with regards to the driver and the cook but NAB will not rely on it. "Further 15-day remand should be given," he argued.

The prosecutor maintained that air conditioners have been installed for the suspects. He said that the Speaker goes to the Assembly less now and progress is being made in the investigation. An extension for remand is required so that the suspicious persons can be reached, he argued adding that the suspects include people who do not even own motorcycles but have millions in accounts under their names.

The NAB prosecutor told the court that proofs about buying vehicles and assets by the accused have been found. He claimed that evidence of money laundering against Durrani has also found during the investigation. He said pay orders worth Rs240 million have also been found, and it is to be seen who arranged this money.

Counsel for the accused, Amir Raza Naqvi, maintained that the rules were flouted when arresting Durrani. The NAB chairperson is bound to the rules when issuing arrest orders, said Naqvi. He argued that as per the Supreme Court's orders there needed to be concrete evidence for the arrest and that Durrani can be interrogated without arrest as well. The counsel maintained that there was no homework done before Durrani's arrest. People are committing suicides due to NAB's attitude, people are being insulted and the Supreme Court has also taken notice of it, said Naqvi.

"Was your client mistreated?" asked the court. "The issue is not the mistreatment, it's the illegal arrest," said Rizvi in reply. "If NAB is given the licence to enter houses like this, the consequences will be bad," he added.

NAB prosecutor argued that the investigation was proceeding. He hoped that this would be the last extension in remand and if the investigation failed to prove the allegations, the inquiry would be closed.

Naqvi maintained that a fake video of Russia was running on social media showing that this amount was recovered from Durrani's house.  To this the NAB investigation officer (IO) responded that the video was two-years old and NAB has no control over social media. '

Durrani's counsel maintained that the video of the raid on the Speaker's house should be given so a case can be registered.

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"These people are lying. They probed me for only 10 minutes. They ask me the same things which I have already answered. NAB has not been able to produce anything yet," said the accused Speaker Durrani.

Naqvi maintained that NAB has not been able to present the details of the 10-day investigation so far.

The court extended Durrani's physical remand till April 12 and directed NAB to complete its investigation soon. Further remand will not be granted, said the court.

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