LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday rejected the request of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to extend the physical remand of former provincial minister Sibtain Khan and three others in the Chiniot mining contract case and sent them to jail on judicial remand till July 17.
Besides the former minister, NAB officials produced former Mines and Minerals Department secretary Imtiaz Ahmed, former operations and planning manager Muhammad Aslam and former mines chief inspector Abdul Sattar before Accountability Court Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan on the expiry of the remand.
The investigation officer submitted a report about investigations conducted so far and contended that further physical remand of the accused was required. He submitted that rules were ignored in awarding the contract, whereas a summary was forwarded to the chief minister for approval a day before the end of the government term. He pleaded with the court to extend the physical remand.
At this, the court observed that NAB obtained the physical remand of the accused on the same grounds at the last hearing.
The official submitted that further investigations were required to get information about the persons who directed the committee to award the contract to an inexperienced company.
Subsequently, the court rejected the request to extend the physical remand term as it was dissatisfied with the prosecution’s reply. The accused were then sent to jail on judicial remand. The court directed officials to produce them on the expiry of the remand term.
Earlier, Sibtain Khan resigned from his position as provincial minister for forestry, fisheries and wildlife after being arrested by NAB on June 15, 2019. Sibtain was arrested on the charges of awarding a multi-billion-dollar contract to a reportedly fake company in 2007.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 4th, 2019.
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