Chaudhry brothers off the hook in graft case

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LAHORE: Punjab Assembly Speaker Pervaiz Elahi and Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain are off the hook in a graft case after an accountability court on Tuesday accepted the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) plea to close a 19-year-old inquiry against the duo due to lack of evidence.

In 2000, NAB had open an inquiry against both brothers for allegedly causing losses to the state exchequer by influencing Lahore Development Authority (LDA) officials to exempt more than 21 kanal of land, and 28 plots measuring 10 marlas each, in a private housing society.

During the inquiry, the accountability watchdog found that the two allegedly purchased the pieces of land through their frontmen Mirza Aslam Baig and Mohammad Nawaz.

However, NAB’s investigation officer told the court that the bureau didn’t find any evidence suggesting the Chaudhry brothers’ involvement in the land scam. He informed the court that the plots were purchased by their employees and the PML-Q leaders had no connection to the deals.

In January this year, NAB had concluded the inquiry with a note that the investigation should be discontinued.