The Special Court Central-I on Monday rejected the plea of Federal Investigation Agency seeking the cancellation of interim bail of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz President Shehbaz Sharif in the money laundering case.
Special Court Central Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan was hearing the case and accepted the application of Shehbaz Sharif for exemption from personal appearance in the court due to his engagement in the political activities in Islamabad.
The judge extended till April 11 the interim bail of the accused and directed Shehbaz Sharif, Hamza Shehbaz and other suspects to appear before the court for indictment on the next date of hearing.
The FIA, however, once again failed to convince the court regarding cancellation of bail of Shehbaz Sharif.
The same thing happened to the plea of FIA on Saturday, when the FIA pleaded the court for cancellation of bail of Shehbaz Sharif and asked it to review the March 25 decision about his exemption from personal appearance in the court.
The FIA had said that Shehbaz Sharif was misusing the exemption as well as the interim bail granted to him earlier in the case. In Saturday’s hearing, the agency had said that they were not being heard. The court had also observed how the order could be passed without hearing the accused.
FIA, for a long time, had been making efforts to get some relief from the court hearing the money laundering case against Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz. But each time, it failed to get the relief it sought for. The legal team of the accused successfully countered the state agency, and thus, the due indictment was put off to another date during the last two hearings of the case.
At first, February 18 was fixed for indictment of Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz, but it was adjourned till February 28 and the legal team of the accused raised different objections including ‘unclear copies of challans and statements of the bankers in the case’. At one point, Advocate Amjad Pervez, who was representing the accused party, fell ill while Shehbaz Sharif also remained ill for some time and the matter lingered on.
Now, April 11 has been fixed for indictment of the accused including Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz.
The FIA had registered Shehbaz, Hamza and Salman Shehbaz in November 2020 under sections 419, 420, 468, 471, 34 and 109 – financial fraud, impersonation and forgery – of the Pakistan Penal Code and 5(2) and 5(3) – criminal misconduct – of Prevention of Corruption Act and r/w 3/4 of Anti Money Laundering Act.
The FIA said that it was learnt that total deposits amounting to over Rs25 billion (2008-18) were received in bank accounts of various low-wage employees of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Al-Arabia Sugar Mills and accounts of fake companies set up and controlled by the Sharif group.
The FIR revealed an inquiry had demonstrated that Shehbaz, aided and abetted by his sons, was found to be involved in amassing wealth (pecuniary resources) disproportionate to their known sources of income.