Lahore-based politician Abid Chaudhry on Saturday denied any role in the Olympic visa scandal, insisting that a questionable meeting, which was secretly recorded by British tabloid The Sun, was a “planned drama”.
The Sun had accused Abid of claiming to bypass stringent security checks to smuggle people to London under the garb of Pakistani officials for Rs1 million.
He had gone underground after a joint investigation team of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) and the National Database and Registration Authority launched an inquiry against those involved in the Olympic visa scandal.
Saturday was the first time Abid spoke on the issue; coming out of hiding upon the death of his brother the same day.
Addressing the media, Abid claimed that the infamous scandal took the life of his elder brother Arif Chaudhry, who passed away on Saturday after suffering a heart attack.
The politician said his family has been in constant agony since the scandal emerged, and pleaded to the government and judiciary for justice.
Along with Abid, three other characters involved in the scandal – Malik Bashir, Akbar Butt and Raqeeb, appeared before an investigation team of the FIA on Saturday.
FIA locates accused politician
On Saturday, the FIA’s investigation team arrived at Abid’s residence to probe British tabloid The Sun’s claim, which alleged that Abid had claimed that he could illegally arrange a UK visa.
During the course of investigation, however, Abid categorically denied the allegations, insisting the conversation was staged.
In a written statement, he also denied any role in the preparation of a CNIC or passport for Muhammad Ali Asad, or Asad Ali, The Sun’s undercover man.
He stated that his friend Akbar Butt invited him to the Avari Hotel, and requested him to hold a meeting with one, Raqeeb, who wanted to travel to the UK and needed a visa.
Abid said that, on his friend’s request, he made “a planned drama” and told Raqeeb to deposit his passport and CNIC within a day if he wished to go abroad. He further said that he had never used the words “UK” or “Olympics”, whereas the other persons present in the room had.
He said he was shocked to see himself in the video leaked by The Sun, and claimed that the meeting was a trap, which was recorded though spy devices and secret cameras, without his consent or knowledge.
The FIA also recorded the statements of Malik Bashir, Akbar Butt, Raqeeb – who were also mentioned in The Sun. During interrogation, all three accused also denied any role in the scandal.
Meanwhile, FIA presented the accused Wasif, Asif, Fahim and Ghaffar before the court of Judicial Magistrate Sohail Anjum and pleaded it to stop proceedings due to a lack of evidence. However, the court handed over the accused to the FIA for a two-day remand.
Published in The Express Tribune, July 29th, 2012.
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