IHC grants bail to Imran Khan in £190m corruption case

— Court asks PTI founder to submit surety bond of Rs1 million

— PTI founder to remain behind bars despite securing bail

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) granted on Wednesday bail to PTI founder Imran Khan in the £190 million case.

The court asked the PTI founder to submit a surety bond of Rs1 million in order to secure bail. However, the order will not result in the ex-premier’s release from Adiala jail since his sentences in the Iddat and cypher cases are yet to be suspended.

A day earlier, a two-member bench comprising IHC Chief Justice Aamer Farooq and Justice Tariq Mehmood Jahangiri reserved the decision on Imran’s bail plea following the completion of arguments presented by both sides.

Amjad Parvez, the special prosecutor of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), contended that the funds should have been remitted to the government of Pakistan.

“The Supreme Court clearly stated in its verdict that the funds were mistakenly deposited into the Supreme Court’s account. This act of secrecy constitutes a significant deception,” Parvez asserted. Concluding his arguments, Parvez urged the court to expedite the trial proceedings rather than considering bail at this stage.

Responding to the prosecution’s claims, Imran Khan’s lawyer, Sardar Latif Khosa, challenged the allegations, particularly those made by former aide Shahzad Akbar. Khosa questioned why Imran Khan was being held accountable for matters beyond his control.

Khosa highlighted that a witness of NAB acknowledged the absence of Imran Khan’s signature and affirmed that no funds were directed to the PTI founder’s account or that of his wife, Bushra Bibi.

“Imran Khan and Bushra Bibi did not derive any personal benefit from these transactions,” Khosa emphasised.

The case revolves around allegations of corruption and abuse of authority linked to a financial settlement during the PTI’s tenure, which reportedly incurred a £190 million loss to the national exchequer.

The reference said the “accused […] were given multiple opportunities to justify and provide information, but they deliberately, with malafide intention, refused to provide the information on one or the other pretext.

“Furthermore, it is established through their responses that they have nothing in their defence to rebut the above-mentioned allegations. Thus, they all have committed an offence” under the National Accountability Ordinance (NAO).

It added that the investigation proceedings and findings so far “established that accused persons in connivance with each other have committed the offence of corruption and corrupt practices” as defined under the NAO.

The reference said Imran played a “pivotal role” in the illicit transfer of funds which were meant for the state which ultimately benefited Riaz.

Akbar, a former special assistant to the premier and Asset Recovery Unit chief, played a “crucial role” in the “illegal design of the funds” which were meant for the state, the reference said.

Malik, the reference said, had “actively aided, abetted and assisted and acted in conspiracy” with the other respondents for the diversion of funds earmarked for the state.

Bushra Bibi and Shahzadi also played a “significant” and “crucial” role in the “illegal activities”, the latter also a “front woman” for Imran and his wife, it said.

The reference said that it was “just and proper” to proceed against the eight suspects as there was “sufficient incriminating evidence” available to justify the reference.

It pleaded that the eight suspects be tried and punished in accordance with the law by the court or any other to which the reference was entrusted.

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