IHC reserves verdict on Imran Khan’s bail plea in £190m reference

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) deliberated on Tuesday over Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) founder Imran Khan’s bail petition in the £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) settlement reference, ultimately reserving its verdict.

A two-member bench, comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri, concluded arguments before reserving the verdict.

Amjad Parvez, the National Accountability Bureau’s special prosecutor, contended that the funds should have been remitted to the Government of Pakistan, as per the Supreme Court’s ruling declaring the money state property.

“The amount identified by the Supreme Court was erroneously deposited into another account,” Parvez asserted.

He also highlighted that the Asset Recovery Unit credited the success of securing the funds to the prime minister. Additionally, Parvez emphasized that the transfer of the funds required permission from the National Crime Agency, as per documented procedures.

In response to queries from the bench, Parvez was pressed for evidence regarding out-of-court settlements and the legality of transactions preceding official notifications.

The prosecutor affirmed that the funds were transferred following a confidentiality agreement, dismissing suggestions that the agreement sanctioned depositing funds into the Supreme Court’s account.

Challenged on the legitimacy of the confidentiality agreement and its association with Imran Khan, Parvez underscored the PTI founder’s role as the head of the Assets Recovery Unit.

Furthermore, Parvez alleged the transfer of land to Zulfi Bukhari, a close aide of Imran Khan, during correspondence between the Asset Recovery Unit and the NCA.

The judge inquired about the registration timeline of Al-Qadir Trust, prompting the revelation of “interesting” circumstances surrounding its establishment.

Imran Khan, addressing journalists in Rawalpindi’s Adiala jail, clarified that the NCA seized the funds following suspicions of irregular transactions, not money laundering, during his tenure as prime minister.

The £190 million settlement case involves corruption charges against Khan, his wife Bushra Bibi, and other PTI leaders, linked to a settlement with a property tycoon reportedly causing substantial losses to the national treasury.

Allegations suggest the defendants facilitated the transfer of £190 million to the property tycoon, securing land for an educational institute in exchange.

As investigations unfold, NAB officials have intensified scrutiny, converting inquiries into full-fledged investigations, citing compelling evidence of impropriety in the recovery process of funds from the UK crime agency.

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