The Special Court Central-I on Monday adjourned the money laundering case against newly elected Prime Minister Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz till April 27 as the special team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) skipped the hearing for indictment.
Judge Ijaz Hassan Awan of the Special Court Central-I was hearing the case. Shehbaz Sharif was due before the court for his indictment but he did not appear.
As the hearing commenced, Advocate Amjad Pervez, PM Sharif’s counsel, moved an application before the court and submitted that his client was the candidate for the post of Prime Minister and his election was to be held today in the National Assembly.
He added that Shehbaz Sharif was going to Saudi Arabia along with his family to perform Umrah. He asked the court to defer the indictment due to his absence.
At this, the court asked the FIA investigation officer if he had any issue if any date was given to Shehbaz Sharif, to which the officer raised no objection.
The judge remarked, “Let the indictment be made on the next date of hearing.” The judge also directed the FIA to take instruction and inform the court on the next date of hearing.
On April 4, the Special Court Central rejected the plea of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) seeking cancellation of interim bail of PML-N President Shehbaz Sharif in the money laundering case. The court also rejected the plea of Sharif’s counsel challenging jurisdiction of the court for hearing of the case.
The FIA had said that Shehbaz Sharif was misusing exemption from personal appearance in the court as well as the interim bail granted to him earlier in the case. The FIA officials had said that they were not being heard.
The legal team of the accused successfully countered the state agency, and thus, indictment was put off from one date to another.
Initially, February 18 was fixed for indictment of Shehbaz Sharif and his son Hamza Shehbaz but it was adjourned till February 28. The legal team of the accused raised different objections including receiving illegible copies of challans and statements of the bankers in the case. 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 were received in bank accounts of various low-wage employees of Ramzan Sugar Mills and Al-Arabia Sugar Mills and that accounts of fake companies were set up and controlled by the Sharif group.