ISLAMABAD: The Prime Minister’s former media coordinator, Khurram Rasool Butt has surrendered himself to the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) early on Friday after having been granted one day's protective bail from the Lahore High Court, Express News reported.
Speaking to media in Islamabad, Rasool disclosed that he had been in hiding for the past year after his former business partner Pervaiz Hussain started blackmailing him.
“He [Hussain] used to call, from his cell phone, the DG ISI in front of me, and using DG ISI’s name, used to threaten me that now your government is finished,” Butt said.
The former PTV media coordinator went on to say that following the threats, a brigadier visited him at his farm house, and subsequently a colonel visited his house and threatened him. From then on, Butt said he and his family started receiving threatening text messages from Hussain’s son, forcing him to go in to hiding. “My children have not gone to school for the past year out of fear,” he said.
Of misappropriation charges, Butt admitted that he had business dealings with Hussain worth up to Rs70 million. “These business included sugar, scrap and petrol . . . they were not petrol imports, these were three to four months of ‘rate movement’ in the prices of petroleum products at a few of my old petrol pumps,” Butt revealed.
He said that he would be providing FIA with all details of the checks he was forced to sign. However, he said that the matter was independent of his appointment as the media coordinator at PTV and subsequent assignment with the Prime Minister. “I had wrapped up most of the payments before my appointment, and these were my business matters dating well before my assignment with the Prime Minister.”
Regarding the involvement of Cabinet Secretary, Nargis Sethi, Butt said that he explained to the Cabinet Secretary that the case related to a past business dealing, and that this was a civil matter.
Answering a question, Butt said that he had at no point left Pakistan.
This follows an eventful day for Rasool, as three different courts handed down three different verdicts to him on Thursday.
An accountability court in Rawalpindi sentenced Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Rasool to three years in jail under accountability laws for being absent from court proceedings in a corruption reference filed in 2009 after Rasool defaulted on a bank loan.
Judge Jahandar Khan, of accountability court-III, handed down the verdict under Section 31-A of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance. The trial judge was deciding the fate of four other accused, who are all employees of a private bank, and handed them four years imprisonment each. The men are accused in a scam in which Rasool allegedly obtained a loan of Rs70 million from the bank using fake documents, and later did not return the money.
The court further directed Aamir Mumtaz, Muhammad Tariq, Hasnain Haider and Rehan Sheikh, the convicted employees of NIB Bank, to pay a fine of Rs400,000 each. If they default on the fine, they will have to serve another six months in jail.
On January 26, 2011, the court cancelled Rasool’s bail bonds over his continuous absence in the case. Rasool, who had reportedly gone abroad, then approached the Islamabad High Court which, on February 2, 2011, dismissed his plea for protective bail and directed him to approach the trial court. But Rasool did not approach the trial court.
On April 28, 2011, the trial court declared Rasool a proclaimed offender for his absence from proceedings.
Rasool’s counsel Qausain Faisal Mufti told The Express Tribune that his client has already paid Rs63million of his Rs70 million loan but the bank is blackmailing him. He said that his client will appeal the accountability court’s decision.
Banking court allows Rasool interim bail
A banking court has approved interim bail for Khurram Rasool Butt, the prime minister's former media coordinator, after the Lahore High Court rejected his request for protective bail, Express News reported on Thursday.
The banking court has allowed him bail till February 2.
LHC rejects bail plea
Earlier on Thursday, the LHC had Butt’s request for a one-day protective bail. He had said that he will be ready to be arrested if the bail is given.
Butt did not appear before the court himself and was represented by his lawyer, Noor Mohammad Jaspal. It is not a requirement for the person requesting protective bail to appear before the court.
The two-member bench rejected the application and said that the court cannot grant bail unless National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) point of view in the case is heard.
The court ordered NAB officials to appear before the bench today at 3pm with all the records, and also sent notices to the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA).
The court also ordered Butt, who is allegedly being protected by the prime minister's office, to appear before the court on January 27.
On Wednesday, the Supreme Court ordered Butt's arrest and had warned the Federal Investigative Agency (FIA) that it will be held in contempt of court if he was not arrested.
Butt is accused of receiving Rs630 million from his client on the pretext of getting his two companies – Sahara Gas (pvt) Limited and Pak Delta Enterprises (pvt) Limited – quota for Liquid Petroleum Gas (LPG) and a licence for export of oil to Nato forces in Afghanistan.
CORRECTION: An earlier version of the story said that it is important for the person requesting protective bail to appear before the court. However, according to law, it is not a requirement. The error is regretted.
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