A division bench of the Lahore High Court on Tuesday granted bail to supermodel Ayan Ali in money smuggling charges.
Arguing before the bench comprising Justice Anwarul Haq and Justice Arshad Mahmood Tabassum, Ayyan’s counsel claimed the Customs officials had arrested her and raised fake charges of money smuggling.
“She has been behind bars for the last four months and under Customs Act, if the accused is a woman and if the investigation is completed she can be bailed out,” the counsel upheld.
Further, he said his client is a woman and investigation is complete therefore, she should be released on bail.
The supermodel’s counsel also said that laws for money laundering and money smuggling are of different kinds but Customs authorities have raised allegations of money laundering against her but according to the factual position, she should have been charged in money smuggling.
“For money laundering it is necessary for an accused to board a flight but she was not, therefore allegations against her were baseless and she should be granted bail,” he added. The court will issue a written order later.
The counsel went on to add that his client is an 'honourable girl' implicated in a fake case as part of a conspiracy. "Customs authorities illegally implicated her in a money laundering case. "
"Ayan neither got her boarding card nor stamp of exit on her passport, therefore she does not fall under the definition of a traveler and in such a situation no money laundering case was justified against her," the counsel upheld.
Earlier on Monday, a division bench of the LHC had allowed the model to place on record more documents in her bail application in the money laundering case. The bench had sought responses from the federal government and the Customs authorities.
Read: Judge on leave: Ayyan Ali’s remand extended once again
In the application, Ayyan’s counsel had submitted that she had been imprisoned for four months. He said under the Customs Act women suspects in money laundering cases could be freed on bail after completion of investigation. He added that his client was a woman and investigation in the case had been completed so she should be released on bail.
Ayyan had been arrested by the Customs officials from Benazir Bhutto International Airport, Islamabad, on March 14 after US $506,800 was recovered from her luggage. She was taken to the Adiala Jail in Rawalpindi where she is held.