Friday Jan 22 2021

Accountability court rejects NAB plea to extend Khawaja Asif's physical remand

  • NAB plea seeking 15-day extension in physical remand rejected
  • Khawaja Asif sent on 14-day judicial remand instead
  • PML-N leader is under arrest for allegedly accumulating assets beyond known sources of income

LAHORE: An accountability court in Lahore on Friday rejected a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) request seeking a 15-day extension in PML-N leader Khawaja Asif's physical remand and issued orders for 14-day judicial remand instead.

Khawaja Asif had been arrested by the anti-graft watchdog on December 30, 2020 from outside Ahsan Iqbal's residence in Islamabad where he had come to attend a party meeting. NAB said the former defence minister was arrested in a case pertaining to accumulating assets beyond known sources of income. 

Related: Khawaja Asif arrested by NAB in assets beyond means case, says PML-N

Today's hearing

The bureau presented Khawaja Asif before the accountability court's Judge Jawad ul Hassan today and sought a 15-day extension in his physical remand.

Khawaja Asif's counsel argued however that the accountability watchdog has finished the inquiry and is in possession of all records. The counsel further informed the accountability court that his client was cleared by the Supreme Court for holding an Iqamah in 2018 when PTI leader Usman Dar challenged his candidacy for the National Assembly.

The counsel contended that Khawaja Asif has already admitted to being employed by a company overseas, adding that the NAB should provide in writing what it wanted to investigate.

NAB prosecutor in turn informed the accountability court about the PML-N leader owning a restaurant abroad and transactions it deemed suspicious. He said Rs20 million were transferred into Khawaja Asif's account by Khawaja Sultan, Rs30 million by Rana Waheed and there was another transaction worth Rs20.8 million.

Also read: 48 bank accounts in Khawaja Asif and family's names, says Shahzad Akbar

The prosecutor said both Rana Waheed and Khawaja Sultan had claimed the money was given to them by Khawaja Asif. To this, Khawaja Asif said that he can submit in writing that he received the amounts. 

"Rs1.8 billion was transferred into his account which he said was for selling a plot. There are also transactions worth Rs100 million to foreign countries," said the bureau's prosecutor. 

After hearing arguments from both sides, the bench rejected the anti-graft watchdog's plea for extension in physical remand and sent Khawaja Asif on a 14-day judicial remand instead