LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday rejected acquittal pleas of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leaders Khawaja Saad Rafique and Khawaja Salman Rafique in the Paragon housing society scam.
Earlier on Monday, Judge Jawadul Hassan had reserved the verdict on the applications after defense counsels, Ashtar Ausaf Ali and Amjad Pervaiz, concluded their arguments against the jurisdiction of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to form a reference against the accused.
The defense counsel had argued that disputes regarding a private business did not fall within the domain of the NAB as per the NAB Ordinance, 1999, and said that there was no allegation of corruption or misusing the national exchequer against the petitioners in the capacity of public officeholders.
Additionally, they had said that the Security and Exchange Commission of Pakistan (SECP) was the competent forum to look into such matters under the Companies Act, 2017.
They asked the court to set aside the indictment of the petitioners and acquit them of the charges.
NAB prosecutor Hafiz Asadullah Awan had opposed the acquittal applications and argued that there were rulings by the Supreme Court that the trial court could not entertain such appeals after the indictment. He also said NAB powers were protected under Section 18(C) and D of the NAO 1999.
According to NAB reference, Khawaja brothers are accused of wrongfully gaining approximately Rs18.2 million from M/S Paragon City (Pvt) Limited in their bank accounts.
Rejecting the applications today, the accountability court summoned witnesses to present their testimonies against the duo in the next hearing. The judicial remand of the brothers was also extended till Oct 30.