POLITICAL NEWS

NAB asks accountability court to shelve reference against Chaudhry brothers over lack of evidence

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to shelve a pending inquiry against PML-Quaid leaders Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain over lack of evidence, NAB Prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua confirmed on Friday.

NAB Chairman Javed Iqbal allowed withdrawing the inquiries pertaining to huge losses to the national exchequer after the watchdog’s Lahore chapter recommended the same.

Subsequently, NAB authorities filed an application before the accountability court to formally shelve the inquiries, Janjua confirmed to DawnNewsTV.

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Both the PML-Q leaders were facing reference over allegedly causing loss to the state exchequer by influencing the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) officials to exempt more than 21 Kanal of land and 28 plots measuring 10 marlas each in a private housing society.

In 2000, the bureau had launched a probe into the matter and found that the two allegedly purchased the pieces of land through their front men Mirza Aslam Baig and Mohammad Nawaz.

Surprisingly, the authorities failed to make a breakthrough in the case for almost the next one-and-half decade. Till 2017, the inquiry was transferred to half-a-dozen investigators but to no avail. Finally, on Nov 13, 2017, the inquiry was transferred to Waqarul Haq, a NAB investigation officer, who concluded the investigation on a note that it should be closed.

Meanwhile, both the political leaders had appeared before the NAB authorities a few times in 2017 and 2018.

During the investigations, the accountability watchdog found that the people who had been mentioned as “front men” were “employees” of Chaudhry brothers and they had purchased the plots for themselves. The reference mentioned that Mirza Aslam Baig had used the residential address of Chaudhry brothers while purchasing the plots.

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The NAB authorities, according to the watchdog, could not find any concrete “evidence, documented or oral”.

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