NAB seeks approval to close inquiries against Chaudhrys

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The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) has filed a reference before an accountability court seeking final approval to close two inquiries initiated 20 years ago against PML-Q President Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and Punjab Assembly Speaker Chaudhry Parvez Elahi.

In January, the NAB had told the Lahore High Court (LHC) that the inquiries had been closed for want of evidence.

The first inquiry against the families of Hussain and Elahi was related to the allegations of acquiring illegal assets. The second was against Elahi accusing him of making illegal appointments in local government departments. A third on charges of loan default against the duo had already been closed.

‘No trial-worthy material surfaced during investigation’

The reference filed by NAB Lahore Director General Shahzad Saleem stated that the investigating officer recommended that the inquiries against Hussain and Elahi be closed as no trial-worthy material or evidence surfaced during the course of investigation. It said the NAB chairman had already recommended the closure of the inquiries in light of investigating officer’s reports.

The court would resume hearing on April 26 when NAB Special Prosecutor Asadullah Awan would advance his arguments in favour of the closure of the inquiries.

The Chaudhry brothers had challenged the inquiries against them before the LHC alleging that the NAB had been used for political engineering.

At a hearing in December, the court had expressed concern over the pendency of the inquiries for 20 years and ordered the NAB to conclude them within four weeks.

The PML-Q leaders had pleaded that all the inquiries against them had been recommended for closure by the investigating officers and the NAB regional board during 2017 and 2018.

However, they said, NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal approved reinvestigation and bifurcation of the inquiries against them after 20 years. They asked the court to set aside the authorisation of the inquiries and the order for their bifurcation for being unlawful.

In its replies to the petition of the Chaudhrys, the NAB had previously accused them of committing money laundering and accumulating illegal assets.

Dawn News