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Prison bells: SC accepts NAB plea against Shahbaz’s bail


News Desk |

The Supreme Court on Thursday, 18th April, accepted for hearing the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) plea challenging a Lahore High Court (LHC) decision to grant bail to Shahbaz Sharif and former principal secretary to the Prime Minister Fawad Hassan Fawad in the Ashiana Housing Scheme case.

A three-member bench led by Justice Azmat Saeed heard the appeal. Naeem Bukhari, the counsel for NAB, contended on the outset that the LHC’s decision was in contradiction to principles governing the grant of bail as set by the apex court.

Out of 3,000 Kanals property, 2,000 Kanal property had been given to Paragon. Trial is underway in the Accountability Court and pieces of evidence are being presented in the court.

Naeem Bukhari informed the court that all merits of the case had come under discussion in this regard and now nothing remains for the trial court; LHC has given the judgment upon the merits of case from Para 9 to 13. “There were no circumstances necessitating the grant of bail to Shahbaz Sharif,” he argued.

During the hearing, Justice Ijazul Ahsan remarked that the LHC had not found sufficient grounds for the allegations against Sharif and believed that all contracts seem to have been granted by him on merit. To which, Bukhari argued LHC took decision without due consideration of the facts. The court issued notices to Sharif and Fawad. The hearing of the case will resume on May 2.

Read more: Shahbaz Sharif indicted in Ashiana Housing scandal: NRO or No NRO?

Ashiana Housing Scandal

Justice Ijaz-ul-Ahsan asked the prosecution, “What is the allegation upon Shahbaz Sharif in this case?” Naeem Bukhari informed the court that Ashiana Housing Scheme was the project of low price houses. “Out of 3,000 Kanals property, 2,000 Kanal property had been given to Paragon. Trial is underway in the Accountability Court and pieces of evidence are being presented in the court”.

NAB has alleged that the Rs14 billion contract for the housing scheme was won by a construction company called Chaudhry Latif and Sons, but the then Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his aides had awarded it to “ineligible” Lahore Casa Developers.

Read more: Highway to prison? Hamza and Shahbaz indicted in Ramzan mills case

Due to the alleged illegal cancellation of the contract, the government had to pay damages to the contractor. The cancellation of the contract had also delayed the project, resulting in a cost escalation of billions of rupees.

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