Aleem Khan walks free on bail as NAB fails to make its case


–Khan was taken into custody in February for alleged possession of assets beyond known sources of income


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Wednesday approved the bail of Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) leader Aleem Khan in an assets beyond income and offshore company cases.

A two-judge bench, headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi, approved the bail of the senior PTI leader against a surety bond of Rs10 million each. The court ordered Khan’s release if his custody was not required in any other case.

Over the course of the hearing, the investigation officer submitted details of, what he claimed were, suspicious bank transactions and investment. “The accused’s sources of income are disproportionate to his expenses,” he claimed, adding the PTI leader didn’t disclose assets worth millions of rupees.

Aleem’s lawyer, however, maintained that the corruption watchdog has failed to prove its charges against his client. He added the bureau arrested the former minister without any plausible reason and demanded that he be released on bail.

The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had taken the former Punjab senior minister into custody on Feb 7, after he reportedly failed to satisfy the bureau’s officials about sources of his income in connection with his offshore companies.

According to NAB, Aleem being the Secretary of Parkview Cooperative Housing Society, Member of the Provincial Assembly of Punjab and Minister for Information Technology held public office and during the period was involved in acts of corruption and corrupt practices by way of accumulating assets beyond known sources of income within Pakistan and outside.

Furthermore, the bureau said the accused established multiple companies with the purpose of real estate business and invested millions of rupees.

He has been accused of buying more than 900 kanals of land in different villages of Lahore in the name of his company M/s A&A Pvt. Ltd. and also paid advances for additional 600 kanals of land for which he could not account for the sources of the investments.

In year 2005 and 2006, apart from inland assets, he established offshore companies in the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the United Kingdom (UK) with these companies acquiring assets of extensive value which are beyond known sources of income of the accused.

On the other hand, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has devised a strategy for reference against Aleem Khan in connection with assets case.

The investigation officers said that a supplementary reference will be filed against Aleem Khan if they won’t get reply from United Arab Emirates (UAE) and Britain regarding the case. Sources told PTI leader is accused of making illegal assets worth Rs80 crore.

On February 6, Aleem was detained by the NAB while recording his statement in a case pertaining to an offshore company unveiled in the Panama Papers leaks.

On February 7, the court sent him on a nine-day physical remand in NAB’s custody.

During hearing of the case on February 15, the NAB’s prosecutor told the court that in 2003, Aleem Khan was an ordinary citizen and suddenly in 2007, he became millionaire with 35 companies.

The NAB prosecutor maintained that AED30 million were transferred from Pakistan to Dubai and the accused failed to provide details.

Contrarily, Aleem Khan’s counsel stated that the money was sent from the account of Aleem’s mother and that his client has submitted all of his documents to the anti-graft watchdog body.