LHC rejects bail petitions of Khawaja brothers
LAHORE (92 News) – The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday dismissed the bail petitions of former minister for Railways Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique in Paragon housing scam.
A two-member bench of the court headed by Justice Baqir Ali Najfi announced the verdict regarding bail for Khawaja brothers in Paragon Housing scam case.
In its remarks, the court said that the causes of the decision will be tell in the detailed judgment. The lawyers from both the sides presented their arguments during the hearing.
The NAB lawyer, on the other hand, argued that Khawaja brothers are the beneficial owners of the Paragon Housing Scheme. The transactions carried under the scheme’s name were eventually transferred to the accounts of the two brothers.
He also argued that their aide Qaiser Amin Butt, the director of Paragon Housing Society, has become approver against them in the case.
The NAB prosecutor also termed the housing scheme “illegal”, and stated that the Tehsil Municipal Administration (TMA) had approved the scheme ‘provisionally’ and the Lahore Development Authority (LDA) had dismissed an application of its approval.
Moreover, the bench was informed that people were looted by selling the plots in the society on maps.
Contrarily, Khawaja brothers’ counsel pleaded with the court for approving an interim bail with a reason that a session of the National Assembly (NA) was ongoing and experts’ opinion was required by his clients before they could present their recommendations in the parliament for budget].
On the other hand, Khawaja brothers, in their bail pleas, have stated that the NAB nominated them in the case without having any concrete evidence against them. They said they had extended full cooperation to the accountability watchdog during investigation and provided all documents to prove that they had no link to the Paragon City Society.
The applicants said they were being punished by the corruption watchdog on political grounds.
Following their arrests, the NAB Lahore had issued a press release and stated that “Accused Saad along with his benamidaar wife Ghazala Saad Rafique, brother Salman in association with Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue which was converted into a new housing project namely M/S Paragon City Pvt Limited. Record shows that M/S Paragon City is an illegal society.”
“Accused in collusion, connivance and collaboration of Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia cheated the members of public at large and obtained illegal pecuniary benefits from the funds of said illegal housing project,” it added.
Further, it stated, “Accused is operating this illegal housing project through his associates/ co-accused persons who are collecting deposits from general public despite clear directions from LDA that this project is unapproved.”
“Accused has been and is continuously obtaining illegal/ illegitimate funds/ benefits from said project as he obtained 40 kanal plots in his own name and the name of his brother Salman.”