Sharjeel Memon NAB-bed in Rs6b corruption case

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KARACHI: Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) leader Sharjeel Inam Memon on Monday was arrested by law enforcers from the premises of the Sindh High Court (SHC) after his interim bail was rejected in a Rs 6 billion graft case.

Following the rejection of Memon’s bail plea, the former Sindh information minister remained inside the court to evade the arrest due to which the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) team couldn’t apprehend him.

Rangers arrived at the scene to assist NAB and police in the arrest.

Following the hours-long cat and mouse game, a scuffle broke out outside the court as lawyers belonging to the PPP lawyers’ forum chanted slogans in support of the politician.

Memon was shifted to the Sindh NAB headquarters after being escorted from the court.

The NAB officials also arrested 11 co-accused, including former Sindh information secretary, in the case who had been accompanying Memon in the court. Out of the 11, five had handed over themselves to NAB officials whereas the remaining seven were arrested along with Memon. One accused in the case had been granted extension in his bail.

Memon will be produced before an accountability court on Tuesday, the NAB officials said, adding that they would seek a 14-day remand of the accused.

During Monday’s hearing, SHC Chief Justice Ahmed Ali Shaikh rejected the plea to grant bail extension to the suspects in the case.

However, the bail of one of the accused, Riaz Muneer, has been accepted by the court. Previously, all of the accused in the case, including Memon, had procured pre-arrest bail.

Following the bail dismissal, NAB officials were waiting outside the court, along with the Rangers, to take the accused into custody.

Earlier in the day, Memon had filed a plea for transitory bail before the SHC chief justice, stating that he will challenge the decision in the Supreme Court.

Until then, NAB should refrain from arresting Memon, his legal counsel had pleaded. A two-judge divisional bench headed by the chief justice was to hear the plea later on Monday.

In a previous hearing of the case, NAB had said that it had investigated corruption and corrupt practices in the award of advertisements against the law and at exorbitant rates to TV channels and FM radio stations for various awareness campaigns between July 2013 and June 2015, It said it had found that the accused acted with the connivance of each other, resulting in losses to the national exchequer.

The PPP leader is also facing a separate reference regarding illegal adjustment and consolidation of hundreds of acres of land in favour of a private housing project.

Addressing the media, Memon had stated that he will hand himself to the authorities if the court rules against him.

Later, the chief justice had refused to listen to Memon’s plea.

Sharjeel Memon is facing corruption allegations worth five billion and 77 crore rupees in the award of advertisements of the Sindh government’s awareness campaigns in the electronic media.

The PPP leader, who returned to the country from self-imposed exile in March this year, had obtained protective bail in April in connection with an enquiry initiated by the top graft-buster.

Memon had fled the country in 2015 to Dubai after NAB launched a crackdown against corrupt political figures and bureaucrats as part of the Karachi operation.

Sharjeel Memon was arrested by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) immediately after his plane landed from Dubai in Islamabad. However, the authorities released him after interrogation.