Monday Aug 02, 2021
LAHORE: A local court in Lahore extended on Monday the interim bails of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) President Shehbaz Sharif and his son, Punjab Assembly opposition leader Hamza Shahbaz in the Ramzan Sugar Mills scandal, till August 16.
Both the PML-N leaders appeared before the Additional Sessions Judge, Hamid Hussain, during the hearing at a banking court.
The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted their reply over the bail pleas of the accused leaders.
According to the FIA’s reply, Shehbaz and Hamza "are not cooperating in the investigations."
The investigations wouldn’t be completed if the court kept extending the interim bails of Hamza and Shahbaz, read the reply.
The FIA officials maintained that Shehbaz and Hamza allegedly committed Rs2.5b of money laundering by creating fake bank accounts against the names of low-income employees of Ramzan Sugar Mills.
The officials apprised that as per their investigation, the details of the account holders do not match the assets they possess.
Maintaining that they fear that Hamza and Shahbaz may flee from the country, the FIA officials requested the court to dismiss the bail pleas.
Moreover, granting bail to them could endanger the witnesses, said the FIA officials.
During the hearing, the counsel representing Shehbaz moved the court to adjourn the hearing until a date after August 13, since Shehbaz has to attend the National Assembly sessions.
Separately, Hamza’s counsel apprised the court that the Punjab Assembly sessions will also continue till the aforementioned date.
The court accepted the counsels’ requests and adjourned the hearing till August 16, extending the accused’s bail pleas until the same date.
The two PML-N leaders had been granted interim bails in the sugar scandal on June 21, after FIA's Lahore wing summoned Shahbaz in its ongoing probe into the scandal that led to a shortage and an extraordinary hike in the commodity's prices.
In order to avoid being arrested by the FIA, the PML-N president and his son reached out to the court to seek bails, contending that the FIA has registered a "baseless case under money laundering allegations."
The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has already filed a reference on money laundering allegations against the two PML-N leaders.