Elahi secures bail in illegal hiring case

Lawyer says ‘bogus’ FIR was registered against PTI president merely to humiliate him

Former Chief Minister and Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Chaudhry Pervez Elahi is accused of making illegal appointments in the Punjab Assembly during his tenure, according to the provincial anti-corruption body ACE.—File photo


The Lahore High Court on Wednesday granted bail to PTI president and former Punjab chief minister Chaudhry Pervez Elahi in an illegal recruitment case.

Elahi was booked by the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab on charges of illegally recruiting a low-ranking officer as his principal secretary by misusing his powers when he was serving as the chief minister.

A single-judge bench, comprising Justice Shehram Sarwar Chaudhry, heard Elahi’s bail petition.
Amir Saeed Rawn, Elahi’s lawyer argued that the police had no justification for keeping the PTI

president behind bars after the completion of the investigation, and requested the court to approve his client’s bail.

However, the law officer strongly opposed the bail request, and asked the court to dismiss the plea.
He added that there was substantial evidence to develop the nexus of Elahi with the offence.

The law officer contended that the then Punjab CM Elahi had illegally recruited Muhammad Khan Bhatti, a low-ranking officer, as his principal secretary, and no due process was adopted in the appointment.

Replying to this, Elahi’s lawyer told the court that all due process was adopted while appointing the principal secretary.

He argued that a bogus FIR was registered against his client merely to humiliate and embarrass him even though he had nothing to do with the case.

He added that Bhatti had been discharged from this case by a judicial magistrate, while Elahi was being subjected to political victimisation.

The lawyer asked the court to grant Elahi post-arrest bail.

The court directed Elahi to furnish surety bonds of Rs100,000 for availing the relief of bail.

The jail officials then produced Elahi and Bhatti before Accountability Court Judge Zubair Shahzad Kiyani in connection with the Gujrat development projects case.

Read: LHC accepts policemen’s apology in Elahi case

During the proceedings, the defence counsel submitted to the court that clear copies of challan had not been furnished and requested it to adjourn the indictment proceedings till their provision.

At this, the court adjourned further proceedings till February 22 and directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to provide clear copies of challan to the accused.

NAB has accused Elahi and his son Moonis of receiving over Rs1 billion as kickbacks through intermediaries in more than 200 development projects of Gujrat district.

It is pertinent to mention here that Moonis has already been declared a proclaimed offender in the case because of continuous absence.

Moreover, an anti-corruption court also delayed the indictment of Elahi and other accused till February 22 in the Punjab Assembly illegal appointments case.

The court delayed the indictment because of the absence of a co-accused, Abdullah, during the proceedings.

It directed to produce the medical certificate of the co-accused before the court at the next hearing.

The ACE Punjab had registered the case accusing Elahi of unlawful appointments and receiving kickbacks.

Qualified candidates were allegedly denied positions while those who had not taken the exams were appointed.

The ACE claimed that as the then chief minister, Elahi had misused his authority by influencing appointments after taking bribes.

(With input from APP)


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