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Khaqan Abbasi’s physical remand extended for 14 days in LNG case

Khaqan Abbasi’s physical remand extended for 14 days in LNG case
August 15, 2019
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – An accountability court on Thursday extended the physical remand of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi for 14 days in the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case. The PML-N leader was produced before the accountability court after the expiration of his remand. During today’s hearing, Judge Mohammad Bashir asked the NAB prosecutor how much more remand did he need. To this, the NAB prosecutor replied they need a 14-day extension. Abbasi then told the court that during the probe, NAB asks for documents and that whatever he is asked he gives an answer for that. Khaqan Abbasi told the court to grant them the remand whatever they are requesting for. “They demand documents during the questioning. I reply their questions whatever they ask,” Abbasi said. After arguments, the court granted the accountability bureau further 14 days’ physical remand of the former prime minister. The judge also directed NAB officials to complete their investigation within the period of 14 days remand. Later, the court extended physical remand of Khaqan Abbasi till August 29. PML-N leaders Khawaja Asif, Marriyum Aurangzeb and others met with Shahid Khaqan Abbasi in the court. The former prime minister is facing charges of corruption and awarding a LNG import contract at exorbitant rates in 2015, which caused big loss to the national exchequer. Sources said that he had granted a tender worth Rs220 bn to a firm in which he himself was a shareholder. NAB sources said that Abbasi, in 2013, had awarded a LNG import and distribution contract to the Elengy Terminal in violation of the Public Procurement Regulatory Authority (PPRA) rules and relevant laws. On July 18, the NAB arrested PML-N vice-president Shahid Khaqan Abbasi from the Toll Plaza near Thokar Niaz Baig in LNG case. Later, Shahid Khaqan Abbasi was shifted to the NAB Rawalpindi after being arrested. On Jan 2, the NAB Executive Board had authorized two investigations against Mr Abbasi, being former minister for petroleum and natural resources — one for his alleged involvement in irregularities in LNG import and the other related to the appointment of Naeemuddin Khan as president of the Bank of Punjab. The NAB inquiry found that the SSGCL signed a 15-year contract with a subsidiary company of Engro for re-gasification of LNG at fixed daily processing charges. The government authorized the Pakistan State Oil to procure LNG on behalf of the SSGCL. However, the NAB reopened the inquiry against Abbasi in October 2018.