–Two govt officials ready to become approvers in liquor licence case
LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Wednesday directed Punjab Chief Minister Sardar Usman Buzdar to submit his reply by August 18 in a case pertaining to allegedly receiving Rs50 million in bribe to get a liquor licence issued to a hotel in violation of the law.
Buzdar turned up at the NAB Lahore office to record his statement without any protocol. He was quizzed by a combined investigation team (CIT) of the bureau for about one hour and forty minutes. He was handed over a 12-page questionnaire to furnish replies by August 18.
NAB sources said that the chief minister was handed over the questionnaire after he failed to answer some of the questions put to him. According to them, issuance of liquor licence falls under the domain of the Excise DG, however, the Punjab chief minister allegedly used his influence to favour a hotel in Lahore.
Last year in April, the NAB had launched an investigation into Buzdar’s alleged corruption after two complaints were filed with the corruption watchdog against him.
Sources had said that Buzdar is accused of getting a liquor-sale permit issued to a private hotel in the provincial capital. The chief minister is also accused of getting a helicopter for his official use insured for Rs70 million, instead of Rs30 million, according to sources. Buzdar had directed to pay the insurance amount through a supplementary grant.
The allegation had been rejected by the then Punjab government spokesperson Shahbaz Gill.
On the other hand, two government officials have reportedly shown their consent to become approvers against Buzdar in the liquor licence case.
Former Excise director general and another person, whose name has been kept secret, have filed a plea to National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to become approver against CM Buzdar, sources said.
The approvers in their initial statement stated that they were forced to issue liquor licence to a private hotel from the Punjab Chief Minister House.