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Cheema`s bail pleas in two cases dismissed

By Our Staff Reporter 2020-04-14
LAHORE: The Lahore High Court on Monday dismissed bail petitions of former director general of Lahore Development Authority Ahad Cheema in two references of the National Accountability Bureau(NAB)-Ashiana-iIqbal Housing Scheme and assets beyond means.

A two-judge bench comprising Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem and Justice Farooq Haider also denied bail to co-suspect Shahid Shafique in the housing scheme case.

Representing Cheema, Advocate Amjad Pervez argued that the NAB failed to establish its charges despite keeping the petitioner on physical remand for 90 days. He said the petitioner had been behind the bars for the last 26 months while several cosuspects were released on bail.

The counsel pointed out that the trial court had so far recorded statements of 13 witnesses and the early conclusion of the trial was not in sight. He said the petitioner was a government servant and there was no apprehension of absconding if he was released on ball.

NAB Special Prosecutor Faisal Bokhari opposed the petitions and argued that documentary evidence wasavailable before the trial court against the unjustified banking transactions and assets accumulated by the petitioner in his name and his benamidars.

After hearing both sides, the bench dismissed the petitions.

Mr Cheema`s was first high-profile arrest in Punjab by the NAB before the 2018 general election.

The bureau had arrested him on Feb 21, 2018 when he appeared before its combine investigation team in an inquiry into Ashiana-iIqbal Housing Scheme.

Later, the NAB initiated other inquiries against him including LDA-City scam and accumulating assets beyond means.

An accountability court had sent him to jail on judicial remand on March 21, 2018. However, Cheema filed his first bail petition after one year in the assets case. In January this year, he was granted bail in the LDA-City scam.

In the Ashiana scheme`s case, the NAB alleged that Punjab Land Development Company signed a contract in 2015 but failed to complete the low cost housing project despite a lapse of three years.

In the assets case, the NAB alleged that Cheema owned moveable and immoveable properties in his own name and in the name of benamidars worth around Rs600m.