Elahi re-arrested on corruption charges shortly after release

LAHORE, June 02: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi was re-arrested on Friday in another case registered with the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) in Gujranwala for corruption in development projects shortly after a court in Lahore ordered his release. 

The arrest comes a day after he was arrested by ACE Lahore with the help of Punjab Police from near his residence, according to a spokesperson for the interim Punjab government.

Various corruption cases have been registered against the former Punjab chief minister, who is accused of receiving kickbacks for awarding several government development projects during his tenure.

Earlier today, a Lahore magisterial court today reserved a decision on the ACE’s request for granting a 14-day physical remand for Elahi with regard to the corruption case against him.

The ACE registered a case against Elahi under different charges including misuse of authority and corruption causing a loss to the national exchequer of over Rs 1 billion.

Elahi’s counsel advocate Rana Intizar questioned who ordered the registration of the first information report (FIR) against Elahi, adding that one Sohail Abbas was being portrayed as the front man but in the same case, a Gujrawala court had discharged Abbas.

Subsequently, the ACE registered another case in Lahore with the same allegations but this time Muhammad Khan Bhatti, Sohail Abbas and others were accused in the case.

The law officer argued that ACE required physical remand to recover further documents and ensure the arrest of other accused persons. He continued that bogus companies were paid dues, projects were executed without approval, contracts were given to their favoured people without adopting due process, and illegal contracts of road patches and constructions were awarded.

The petitioner’s lawyer argued that all relevant record was available and that no substantial evidence was produced before the courts for the allegations levelled against Elahi.

The judge asked Elahi whether he wanted to say something to which Elahi, taking the rostrum, said he has nothing to do with the case. The former Punjab chief added that he had been implicated in the “forged case” to be humiliated.

Elahi requested that the court implicate Hamza Shehbaz Sharif in the case, however, the judge maintained that the matter was not his “business”.

Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza Virk after hearing detailed arguments from all sides reserved the decision on ACE’s request for Elahi’s physical remand.

As the judge reserved the decision, the ACE tried to take Elahi to an armoured vehicle. However, the petitioner’s counsels resisted, arguing that Elahi could not be taken outside till the decision of the court came forth.

The ACE officials urged the judge to permit Elahi to be taken to the van and cited security issues as the reason. However, magistrate Virk turned down the ACE’s request.

Following his first arrest, Elahi vowed to remain with the party and stated that he would not ‘hold any press conferences’, in a thinly veiled reference to leaders who announced their departure from PTI after being released from prison.

Talking to journalists at a Lahore courtroom on Friday, Elahi claimed that caretaker Punjab Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi was the “root” of all riots and deemed him responsible for all “atrocities”. Elahi maintained that he did not lodge any political cases against anyone.

The former Punjab chief minister added that wrongdoers would suffer accordingly.

In a message to PTI workers, Elahi urged them to “not back down” and to remain steadfast as they were in the “right”.

The senior PTI leader was presented in a Lahore court in connection with a case of alleged corruption and misuse of powers during development projects.

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