Court rejects FIA request for physical remand of co-accused

Nawaz Bhatti, Mazhar Abbas sent to jail on judicial remand

A local court on Monday rejected a Federal Investigation Agency (FIA)’s request to extend physical remand of co-accused in a money laundering case involving Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) leader Moonis Elahi and others. The court sent Muhammad Nawaz Bhatti and Mazhar Abbas to jail on judicial remand.

During the proceedings, FIA Assistant Director Munam Bashir Chaudhari, who is also the prosecutor in the case, said that physical remand of the co-accused was required for the purpose of recovery of about Rs253 million. He said the amount was transferred to their personal accounts and was later transferred to third parties. Advocate Mushtaq Mohal and a number of other lawyers appeared on behalf of the suspects in the case.

Mohal argued that his clients were being political victimized. He asked the court to order release of both the suspects. The accused said that they were innocent and had nothing to do with allegations leveled against them by the agency. They also denied the charges of money laundering. They said the case was a political one and they were being made victims.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge declined the request of the agency and sent the accused to judicial lockup.

On June 14, 2022, FIA’s Corporate Crime Circle booked PML-Q leader Chaudhary Moonis Elahi, PA secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti and six others, including Muhammad Nawaz Bhatti, Muhammad Ali, Mazhar Abbas, Makhdoom Omar Shehryar, Tarik Jawaid and Wajid Khan Bhatti, under Section 5(2) of Prevention of Corruption Act 1947 read with sections 34, 109, 420, 468, 471 of the PPC and 3/4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act 2010 in connection with the affairs of the RYK/Alliance Sugar Mills Group. The FIA accused Bhatti and Abbas of setting up a sugar mills with a hefty amount of Rs720 million. They said they were trustworthy of Moonis Elahi as they sold their shares to him at a later stage. The FIA said that the mills were set up after Parvez Elahi approved its NOC in June 2007-the time when he was the Punjab chief minister.