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Elahi moved to Adiala after being discharged in Lahore

Elahi moved to Adiala after being discharged in Lahore

LAHORE: PTI Presi­dent Chaudhry Parvez Elahi was shifted to Rawalpindi’s Adiala Jail on Sunday soon after a judicial magistrate discharged him in a case of alleged corruption in the Lahore Master Plan 2050.

Mr Elahi — who is among several PTI leaders and workers arrested amid the state’s crackdown after May 9 violent protests — was presented before the court following his arrest by the Punjab Anti-Corruption Establish­ment (ACE) in Rawal­pindi on Saturday. It was the 12th time Mr Elahi was detained since June 1 following the May 9 episode, one of his lawyers said.

An ACE team presented Mr Elahi before the magistrate to secure his physical remand. A deputy director of the anti-graft unit, assisted by Deputy District Prosecutor Jahanzeb Gondal, argued that Mr Elahi was nominated in an FIR and his acquisition was fully supported by the witnesses’ statements.

He asked the court for a maximum physical remand of Mr Elahi to collect evidence and complete the probe.

Advocate Rana Intizar Hussain, president of the Lahore Bar Association, appeared on behalf of Mr Elahi and rebutted the ACE’s arguments, saying Mr Elahi’s arrest clearly violated a contempt petition pending before the Lahore High Court (LHC).

He also asked for contempt proceedings against the investigating officer who had arrested Mr Elahi.

He asked the court to discharge Mr Elahi, arguing there was no incriminating material against his client.

After hearing the arguments and examining the record, Judicial Magistrate Rehanul Hassan observed that the prosecutor had admitted that no wrongful loss was caused by the suspect to any company or any government institution or department, including the Lahore Development Authority.

The magistrate noted that the case was based on statements of the director of the master plan and the chief metropolitan planner, who had not been treated as suspects.

He said it was surprising that those who misused their authority, as alleged in the FIR, were enjoying liberty, but Mr Elahi was in custody despite having no direct role.

Discharging Mr Elahi, the magistrate observed: “The discharge never amounts to an acquittal because acquittal is the sweet will of the learned trial court, which is fully competent to summon the accused to face trial even if he was discharged.”

He said no incriminating material was apparently available against the suspect that could connect him to the alleged offence.

“Hence, the accused person namely Ch. Pervaiz Elahi is hereby discharged in this case. The accused person be released forthwith if not required in any other case.”

Separately, the magistrate allowed the ACE Lahore a one-day transit remand of Mr Elahi to take him back to Adiala Jail for his subsequent production before an anti-terrorism court in Islamabad in a case relating to the May 9 riots.

The investigating officer told the magistrate that Mr Elahi was brought to Lahore on a one-day transit remand granted by the Islamabad ATC; therefore, the suspect was supposed to be taken back to Adiala Jail.

Published in Dawn, September 18th, 2023

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