The Lahore High Court on Wednesday granted Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) leader Aleem Khan bail in a case regarding possession of assets beyond known sources of income and other corruption allegations.
The court ordered the former provincial minister to furnish two surety bonds worth Rs1 million each.
Khan was taken into custody in February this year and was on judicial remand in the custody of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB). After his arrest, the senior PTI minister had submitted his resignation to Punjab Chief Minister Usman Buzdar, saying it was not “morally right” for him to stay in office.
A two-member bench, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and comprising Justice Sardar Ahmed Naeem, heard Khan’s request for bail on Wednesday. Justice Najafi asked what remand the PTI leader was on, in response to which the NAB prosecutor informed him that Khan was in jail on judicial remand.
The NAB prosecutor read out the statements of witnesses in the assets beyond income case and alleged that Khan had shown the value of his land to be less than it was worth.
Justice Najafi said that Khan had mentioned all of this in his tax returns.
The NAB prosecutor said that the money through which land was purchased was not a legal source of income. Further, NAB’s investigation officer alleged that Khan had received money from abroad.
First PTI minister caught in NAB dragnet
NAB had taken Khan, who was a senior minister of the ruling party at the time, into custody in Lahore in February. He faces 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.
The bureau’s officials allege that Khan had misused his authority as general secretary of the Park View Housing Society and as a past member of the provincial assembly to acquire assets beyond his known sources of income.
NAB had in January 2018 sought the records and details of offshore companies reportedly established in tax havens abroad by Khan and PML-Q’s Chaudhry Moonis Elahi. A Mutual Legal Assistance report pertaining to Khan’s case was provided to NAB Lahore earlier in January this year, following which the PTI leader was summoned and later arrested.
According to NAB Lahore, Khan had started a real state business in which he invested tens of millions of rupees. He bought 900 kanals of land and a further 600 kanals of land through a company set up for this purpose, A&A Private Ltd.
However, according to the bureau, the PTI leader was unable to show the sources of income with which he purchased the land.
NAB further alleges that Khan had set up multiple offshore companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Britain in 2005 and 2006, using them to purchase assets that cannot be explained by his means.