LHC rejects bail pleas of Khawaja brothers


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday rejected the bail petitions of incarcerated Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders, Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique.

A two-member bench, headed by Justice Baqir Najafi, announced the verdict.

The PML-N stalwarts are chief suspects in the Paragon Housing Society reference, filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) earlier this year.

As the hearing started, defense counsel informed the court that their clients have nothing to do with Paragon Housing scam and added that Qaiser Ameen Butt’s statement was recorded twice before the magistrate.

“NAB first rejected Qaiser’s statement and later recorded his statement of its choice,” the Khawaja brothers’ counsel alleged.

He said inquiry against his clients carried out for three years and were closed later.

According to NAB, Khawaja Saad Rafique in collaboration with his wife Ghazala Saad Rafique Butt, brother Salman Rafique, Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia had launched a housing project named Air Avenue, which was later renamed to Paragon City (Pvt) Ltd.

The accused allegedly connived with Nadeem Zia and Qaiser Amin Butt to defraud several members of the society and misappropriated project funds for personal gains. The accused collected huge amounts in flagrant violation of directions from the Lahore Development Authority (LDA).

Saad Rafique acquired 40 kanals of land in his and his brother’s name, which he used to extend the project illegally and sold commercial plots worth billions of rupees.

Khawaja brothers are accused of wrongfully gaining nigh Rs18.2 million from M/s Paragon City (pvt) Limited in their bank accounts. When investigated, they failed to account for the hefty gains.

While Saad is under NAB custody in Pakistan, Salman is currently abroad.