A sessions court in Lahore on Monday extended till August 16 the interim bail granted to PML-N leaders Shehbaz Sharif and Hamza Shehbaz within the sugar scam case, after the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) submitted a report on their investigation into the case.
Shehbaz and his son, Hamza, face Rs25 billion concealment charges within the sugar scandal. The FIA had booked them within the case under sections of the Pakistan legal code , the Prevention of Corruption Act and Anti-Money Laundering Act in November 2020.
Shehbaz and Hamza appeared before the court today upon expiration of the bail previously granted.
The counsel for Shehbaz, the leader of opposition within the National Assembly (NA), told the court that a National Assembly session was to commence today (Monday) and last till August 13.
He further said that his client had to attend the NA session, and requested the court to defer the case’s hearing until after the session’s conclusion.
At this, judge Hamid Hussain said that he was hearing the case within the capacity of a requirement judge, and instructed Shehbaz’s counsel to approach a special court with the request.
Meanwhile, the counsel for Hamza told the court that the FIA had issued a show-cause notice to the PML-N leader and a response had been submitted.
The judge asked the representative of the FIA official attending the hearing about the progress made within the investigation, at which the official submitted a report concerning the probe.
According to the report, Shehbaz and Hamza are the owners of Ramzan Sugar Mills, which was used for “wide scale money laundering”.
The report claimed that concrete evidence was available to prove the allegations against the accused. It further said that the PML-N leaders had administered transactions through “suspicious bank accounts” between 2008 and 2018.
The FIA, in its report, also raised the priority that if the accused were allowed to stay out on bail, “it is very likely that they’re going to subdue the key witnesses/records concerning the potential transfer of laundered proceeds”.
The report acknowledged that “three key facilitators” of cash laundering within the case, namely Suleman Shehbaz Sharif, Syed Muhammad Tahir Naqvi and Malik Maqsood Ahmed have already “absconded” to the uk and United Arab Emirates which there was an opportunity of Shehbaz and Hamza doing an equivalent also .
On these grounds, the FIA requested the court within the report back to dismiss the pre-arrest bail petitions of the PML-N leaders.