LAHORE: An accountability court on Tuesday extended physical remand of Jang group editor-in-chief Mir Shakilur Rehman for another 11 days in a 34-year-old land allotment case, while the Lahore High Court dismissed two identical petitions for his bail and quashment of the remand.
Earlier, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) produced Mr Rehman before the trial court on expiry of his previous remand and also sought his further custody on the pretext of further investigation.
Initially, Presiding Judge Jawadul Hassan put off the hearing of the remand to wait a decision by the LHC on the petitions for the suspect’s release.
After the judge resumed hearing, Special Prosecutor Asim Mumtaz stated that a two-judge LHC bench dismissed the petitions filed by the suspect and his wife against the remand and for his release.
Persuading the court to grant further remand of the suspect, the prosecutor said most of the case record had been collected, while the investigators awaited a copy of original map of the Johar Town housing scheme to be furnished by the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).
Asked about the role of then chief minister Nawaz Sharif in the case, the prosecutor said the then chief executive of Punjab had extended unprecedented concession to the suspect in allotment of the plots.
He pointed out that the NAB sent a questionnaire to Mr Sharif, which was yet to be responded as he was not in the country.
The prosecutor said the suspect had been in Karachi on a transit remand for a week following death of his brother. Therefore, he said, there had been no progress in the investigation. He said the suspect was yet to be confronted with then director general of the LDA and other officials.
Advocate Amjad Pervez, the defence counsel, opposed further remand and argued that the NAB had no new ground to seek it.
The judge, however, allowed the NAB to keep the media mogul in custody for another 11 days and present him before the court again on April 18.
On the other side, Barrister Aitzaz Ahsan argued before the high court that his client Mr Rehman was not going to flee, so he should be released on bail subject to surety bonds. He said the NAB itself admitted that the inquiry was not completed so far.
The bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider dismissed the petitions.
Related link: The News