LAHORE: An accountability court on Thursday handed over former senior provincial minister Abdul Aleem Khan to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on physical remand in assets beyond means case until February 15.
Earlier, the NAB officials produced the former minister before Accountability Court Judge Syed Najamul Hassan Bukhari.
NAB’s prosecutor Waris Ali Janjua argued that Abdul Aleem Khan was detained after he failed to satisfy the bureau investigators in connection with his offshore companies and assets. Advocate Mohammad Azhar Siddiq represented Khan.
He argued that Aleem Khan’s assets did not correspond with his income. He pleaded with the court for granting 15-day physical remand of the accused for investigations.
NAB’s arrest on Wednesday of Aleem Khan, who is known as a major financier of the party along with Jahangir Tareen, came as a bombshell for the party as its members believed that he had been appearing before NAB since the PML-N was in power, and that he could explain the sources of his wealth.
The PTI leader is facing multiple inquiries, including one involving offshore company Hexam Investment Overseas Ltd, one for owning assets beyond his known sources of income, and inquiries into his involvement in the Park View Housing Society, River Age Housing Society, and Multan Road.
However, Aleem’s counsel Azhar Siddique opposed the request saying that all assets were declared in income tax record. He submitted that Aleem Khan inherited money whereas there was no allegation that he misused his authority.
The court after hearing arguments of the parties reserved its verdict on remand for sometime but later, handed over Aleem Khan to NAB on physical remand till February 15.
A large number of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf workers were present in the premises.
It is pertinent to mention that Aleem Khan on Wednesday appeared before the NAB team at its regional headquarter in connection with the case but he was arrested. Aleem Khan immediately resigned from office following his arrest.
Strict security measures were taken ahead of the hearing. The area within a three-kilometre radius of the accountability court building was sealed off with barbed wire and containers, and contingents of police, the Elite Force and Rangers were posted along the route.
A statement released by NAB following Khan’s arrest on Wednesday had said that the PTI leader “established multiple companies with the purpose of real estate business and invested millions of rupees”.
The body further said: “He [Khan] bought more than 900 kanals land in different mauzas of Lahore in the name of his company M/s A & A Pvt Ltd, and also paid advance for [an] additional 600 kanals of land [that] he could not account for the sources of the said investments.”
NAB said it had arrested the minister fearing that he might tamper with the record of his offshore companies and other suspected dubious transactions.
The bureau also accused Khan of being involved in corruption during 2005-06, when he was secretary of Park View Cooperative Housing Society, as well as serving as a member of the Punjab Assembly and minister for information technology.
Immediately after his arrest, Khan submitted his resignation to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzadar ─ a move lauded by his colleagues in the PTI.