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Ex-PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf acquitted in another rental power reference

Ex-PM Raja Pervaiz Ashraf acquitted in another rental power reference
June 30, 2020
ISLAMABAD (92 News) – An accountability court on Tuesday acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf, former finance minister Shaukat Tareen and other accused in the Piraghaib Rental Power reference. Judge Muhammad Bashir announced his verdict on applications of the former premier and others seeking acquittal in the case. Other accused whose acquittal pleas were approved included Shaukat Tareen, Ismail Qureshi, Shahid Rafi, Tahir Basharat Cheema, Muhammad Saleem Arif, Chaudhry Abdul Qadreer, and Iqbal Ali Shah. On the other hand, the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has decided to challenge the decision of accountability court. The NAB had filed the Piraghaib Rental Power reference in 2014, accusing Raja Pervaiz Ashraf of misusing his powers in his capacity as water and power minister to gain financial benefits in the project. Earlier on June 25, an accountability court in Islamabad acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervaiz Ashraf in the Rental Power Plant reference. Judge Mohammad Bashir, while announcing the verdict, said that NAB could not prove any corruption charges against Ashraf. Other people named in the case, including Shaukat Tareen, former Pesco MD Basharat Cheema and Shahid Rafique have been acquitted as well. Ashraf was charged by NAB on three counts in the Rs22 billion scam. The ex-premier has maintained throughout that he did not cause any loss to the national exchequer and had not indulged in any corruption. A reference against Ashraf was filed in December 2019 after Rana Amjad, the manager of the Sahiwal-Multan project, turned approver in the case. Ashraf was accused of misusing authority during his tenure as the minister for water and power to obtain approval from the Economic Coordination Committee and the federal cabinet for an increase in the down payment to rental power companies from 7% to 14%, amounting to about Rs22 billion. He, however, denied the charge.