A Pakistani court on Saturday granted pre-arrest bail to Prime Minister Shahbaz Sharif and his son and Punjab Chief Minister Hamza Shahbaz in a multi-billion money laundering case. Took a U-turn and told the judge that there was no need for his arrest.
Interestingly, the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) last week submitted an interim investigation report against the premier and other suspects in the 14 billion rupees (US$75 million) money laundering case and argued seeking their arrest. was that “their custody is necessary for further investigation in the case as they have not joined the investigation and co-operated with the investigators.”
“On Saturday, the FIA prosecutor took a completely opposite stand, telling the court that the agency does not require the arrest of the father and son in the investigation,” a court official told PTI.
The court then confirmed the pre-arrest bail of the prime minister, his son and other suspects in the Rs 14 billion money laundering case.
The court also directed them to deposit a surety bond of Rs 10 lakh each within seven days.
Shahbaz and Hamza appeared before the FIA Special Court (Central-I) in Lahore amid tight security.
Shahbaz said the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has already probed the allegations that the FIA is now investigating.
“Nothing was proved against me and my sons in the NAB case as the Supreme Court had reprimanded me for failing to produce any evidence,” he said, adding that the FIA had contacted him twice when he went to NAB. were in custody.
Shehbaz said, “All my cases at NAB were decided on merit in which I was acquitted. Honor is also a man’s property. If corruption of one penny was proved against me, I would have quit politics. “
When Judge Ejaz Hassan Awan asked the prime minister whether his sons had shares in their sugar mills, Shahbaz replied in the negative.
“I have nothing to do with the sugar business. The facts presented by the FIA are wrong,” he said.
Shahbaz also got emotional in the court and said: “The day of judgment may come but FIA will not be able to prove corruption of even a rupee against me”.
Prime Minister Shahbaz and his sons Hamza and Suleiman were booked by the FIA in November 2020 under various sections of the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act.
Suleiman is absconding in the UK as a court has issued an arrest warrant against him.
The FIA investigation said that it has allegedly unearthed 28 benami accounts of the Shahbaz family, through which 14 billion Pakistani rupees were withdrawn from 2008 to 2018.
The FIA investigates the money trail of 17,000 credit transactions.
According to the allegations, the amount was kept in “hidden accounts” and given to Shahbaz in his personal capacity.