Elahi’s principal secretary in corruption scandal over bribe allegations

LAHORE: The anti-corruption establishment (ACE) in Punjab registered a case against Muhammad Khan Bhatti, principal secretary to former chief minister Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, on allegations of bribery.

The charge sheet alleges that Bhatti received more than Rs460 million in bribes from officials of the Punjab Highway Department in exchange for favourable posts.

The agency has also nominated Monis Elahi, Elahi’s son, and Ali Afzal Sahi, Pakistan Tehreek-i-Insaf (PTI) minister of the communication and works department under Elahi, in the case.

Unconfirmed reports suggest the agency has also arrested a sub-divisional officer (SDO) in the highway department, Rana Muhammad Iqbal, in the case and formed teams for the arrest of Bhatti, who it claims is the prime suspect.

Meanwhile, Elahi’s driver and bodyguard have been arrested for allegedly carrying liquor bottles in Islamabad, and an investigation into potential monetary transactions by two employees of the Punjab House is underway.

Bhatti was a BPS-7 clerk in the Agriculture Department in 1997 when Elahi, then speaker of the Punjab Assembly, inducted him into the provincial parliament in BPS-11.

Thanks to Chaudhry’s patronage who became the Punjab chief minister in 2002, Bhatti achieved BPS-20 in less than a decade, an unprecedented rise seen by any civil servant, and was appointed special secretary in the Chief Minister’s Secretariat, a post specially created to accommodate him.

In 2008, he was promoted to BPS-21 and posted as the assembly secretary where he served until August of last year when Elahi, who by the time had returned as chief minister, appointed him as his principal secretary.

The appointment, according to a court petition, was made in violation of the law which stipulated that an officer of one service cadre cannot be posted in another.


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