Elahi’s close aide Bhatti arrested from Quetta

Former CM’s principal secretary is accused of taking bribes  worth Rs460 million for making transfers and appointments

Former Punjab chief minister Chaudhary Pervaiz Elahi’s principal secretary Muhammad Khan Bhatti has been arrested from Quetta, on Thursday.

DG Anti-Corruption Punjab Sohail Zafar Chatta formed a four-member team following the arrest to bring the accused from Quetta to the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) headquarters in Lahore.

Officials of the Punjab Anti-Corruption department claimed Bhatti was arrested while attempting to escape the country via the Balochistan-Iran border.

Bhatti, who was a close aide of the former Punjab chief minister, is accused of taking more than Rs460 million as bribe from officials of the Punjab Highway Department.

SDO Highway Police Rana Muhammad Iqbal has already been arrested on charges of bribery.

According to the FIR, Iqbal gave millions of rupees to the accused to get posts of his choice. “Several officials from the communications and construction departments were working for Muhammad Khan Bhatti,” the FIR states. Bhatti’s name has also come up in an audio clip of an alleged telephone conversation between the Elahi and a lawyer in which the former chief minister is purportedly talking about fixing Bhatti’s case before a sitting apex court judge. Elahi has denied any wrongdoing, claiming that a “wrong impression” was being given to his conversation with the lawyer about the Muhammad Khan Bhatti case.

Bhatti was briefly apprehended last month from the Matiari district in Sindh while he was going to the Sindh High Court for protective bail.

Following the arrest, Bhatti’s wife Kausar Parveen filed a plea in the Lahore High Court seeking her husband’s recovery and arguing that he was being subjected to political victimisation and humiliated for his loyalty to Elahi.

She implored in her petition that her husband had always discharged his duties in the most faithful manner and to the best of his abilities, but, on account of his family’s political background, he is being subjected of victimisation by the government headed by rival political parties.

She further claimed in her petition that he husband had told her that his political rivals have decided to implicate him in false criminal cases.