FIA decides not to arrest Tareen, Shehbaz

NAB tells court it does not require to round up PML-N's Capt (retd) Safdar


Our Correspondent June 11, 2021
Jahangir Tareen. PHOTO: APP/ FILE

LAHORE:

The Federal Investigation Agency has decided that it would not arrest estranged PTI leader Jahangir Tareen and his son Ali Tareen as well as PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz in connection with its investigation into a multi-billion sugar scam.

Separately, the National Accountability Bureau told the Lahore High Court on Thursday that it did not need to arrest PML-N supremo Nawaz Sharif's son-in-law Capt (retd) Muhammad Safdar in an assets beyond means case.

The FIA has sent its summary to Adviser to the PM on Accountability and Interior Mirza Shahzad Akbar and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) will carry out further proceedings in the sugar case.

The authority has completed its investigation report, according to which the owners of sugar mills were found to be involved in making profits through speculative pricing.

They made a windfall profit of around Rs100 billion through this practice and were also hoarding the sweetener.

The “cash boys” and speculative brokers of Tareen, Shehbaz, Hamza, the brother of Federal Minister Khusro Bakhtiar and other sugar mill owners also turned out to be the same.

FIA sources said as the investigation had been completed, it was not necessary to arrest anyone.
They added that all records and investigation reports had been forwarded to the FIA DG and the prime minister's adviser.

The authority also detected tax evasion worth billions of rupees in the sugar scandal.

The FIA has fully investigated the fraud and could not recover the profit made through tax evasion. This is the job of the FBR, the sources added.

According to sources, the FIA has been provided with some more evidence by  Tareen.
The evidence and documents obtained by the FIA were prepared by Tareen with the help of a chartered accountant and former senior FBR officials.

They have also been made part of the record and only the FBR would shed light on what action it could take on them.

The sources said the FIA had achieved the task it was assigned by Prime Minister Imran Khan.
They added that the government knew about how to proceed further on the findings of the FIA in its report.
A sugar inquiry commission – headed by the FIA chief – was formed to probe into a sudden shortage of sugar that resulted in a steep hike in its prices in January 2020.

In its preliminary report – unveiled on April 5 last year – the commission had claimed that sugar mills belonging to the families of the country’s top politicians including PML-N’s Shehbaz Sharif, PTI’s Jahangir Tareen and Khusro Bakhtiar and PPP’s Asif Ali Zardari were among beneficiaries of the crisis.

In its forensic report – issued on May 21 the same year – the commission had accused the sugar mill owners of earning illegal profits to the tune of billions of rupees through unjustified price hikes, benami transactions, tax evasion, misuse of subsidy and purchasing sugarcane off the books. Safdar case

A division bench of the LHC disposed of Safdar's plea for pre-arrest bail in an assets beyond means case after NAB informed the court that it did not require to take him into custody.

In earlier proceedings, the division bench headed by Justice Aalia Neelum was hearing the case.
However, a second member of the bench, Justice Asjad Javed Ghural, refused to hear the matter citing personal reasons.

A new bench was formed and Justice Shahbaz Ali Rizvi was made its second member.

On Thursday, as the proceedings started, the NAB prosecutor told the court that the arrest of the accused was not required by the anti-graft body. On this, the court disposed of the petition.

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