–CJ says record of money being submitted before the court by PTI chief in pieces is ‘inconsistent’
–Deeds of land leased by Tareen not registered with revenue department
ISLAMABAD: A day after Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) Chairman Imran Khan claimed that he had submitted the entire money trail of his Banigala property to the Supreme Court, the apex court bench hearing the disqualification case against him and his party’s secretary general Jahangir Tareen on Tuesday expressed its reservations over the documents submitted by both men in support of their respective claims.
A three-member bench of the apex court ─ headed by Chief Justice Saqib Nisar and comprising Justice Umar Atta Bandial and Justice Faisal Arab ─ was hearing a petition filed by Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Hanif Abbasi which seeks the disqualification of Imran Khan and Jahangir Tareen over the alleged non-disclosure of assets, existence of offshore companies, as well as receiving foreign funding for PTI.
On Monday, Imran had submitted additional documents before the apex court, seeking to provide a money trail of nearly 100,000 pounds that the SC had raised questions over.
As he submitted the documents before the court, Imran had backtracked on his earlier position that approximately 99,000 pounds had been spent on legal fees and associated costs. Instead, he had claimed that the amount had only initially been retained in the bank account of Niazi Services Ltd but parts of it were later remitted to him by the company.
During Tuesday’s hearing, the chief justice remarked that the record of the sum is being submitted before the court in pieces and is inconsistent. He noted that Imran had not yet submitted any record before the court to help determine whether or not the amount had been spent on legal fees.
Furthermore, Justice Bandial added that no record had been provided regarding 27,000 pounds out of the total sum.
Imran’s counsel Naeem Bukhari told the court that on May 26, 2003, the PTI chief’s former wife, Jemima Khan, had transferred 93,000 pounds to Imran for the purchase of the Banigala property. He added that the amount was received by Imran in pieces; he first received 40,000 pounds and then 42,000 pounds.
The court ordered the petitioner to file his response before the bench.
TAREEN’S YET TO SUBMIT COMPLETE RECORD:
During Tuesday’s proceedings, the counsel representing Jahangir Tareen told the apex court that his client had submitted all the records pertaining to 18,566 acres of land which he had acquired through a lease.
However, the court reminded Advocate Sikander Mohmand that his client has yet to submit the khusrabandi and malia records which the bench had sought during a hearing on Oct 5 along with other relevant revenue records showing how much money Tareen had paid to the lessor to get lease of 18,566 acres of land in 2010 as well as evidence proving that he had earned around Rs1.6 billion agriculture income from the said land.
The bench observed that the deeds of the leased lands of Tareen were not registered with the revenue department. It said that the deeds alone could bring out true facts about the respondent’s leased lands.
The lawyer told the court that records of the tax paid by Tareen on water and electricity have been furnished before the court. He maintained that the owner of the land — and not his client — was liable to pay taxes on the land.
The court, however, again ordered the lawyer to submit the revenue records.
The hearing was adjourned until Wednesday.
At the last hearing, the apex court had directed him to file revenue records of 18,566 acres of the leased land after the top court noted that Tareen did not show his agri-income from the leased land in his tax returns.
The counsel contended that the tax audit is the sole responsibility of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) and the petitioner intends to waste the court’s time. To which, Justice Umar Ata Bandiyal remarked that the bench is conducting disqualification proceedings over non-declaration of assets by his client in his nomination papers.
In light of asset details submitted by the Tareen’s counsel, the chief justice noted that the PTI leader did not declare his actual income in the nomination papers.
“Jahangir Tareen did not mention his exact earning from agricultural lands,” CJP remarked.
In response, the counsel argued that his client had acquired these lands on lease (contract basis) and he had declared it in his nomination papers in 2013.
The chief justice then queried the income generated from the leased lands are whether qualified as an asset or not. “If these earning are assets, then why the PTI leader did not mention the income from agricultural lands in the nomination papers,” the CJP asked.
A person who earns Rs10 billion from a leased land, would he be exempted from taxes levied on income, besides what income would he declare on his nomination papers, Chief Justice Saqib Nisar further asked.
In response to the CJP’s query, Tareen’s counsel apprised the bench he would write ‘nil’ in the ‘income column’ since taxes are not levied on the contract based income.
Subsequently, Hanif Abbasi’s counsel claimed that the forged lease papers were prepared to conceal money laundering.
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