Dr Asim corruption case: Court grants NAB 14-day extension in remandPakistan
KARACHI: An accountability court allowed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to keep custody of former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain for 14 more days during a hearing on Tuesday.
NAB prosecution asked Administrative Judge Accountability Courts Saad Qureshi for a 15-day extension in Dr Asim's remand.
Dr Asim, who has been in NAB custody since Dec 11, is facing an inquiry into charges of misuse of authority in allotment of plots and encroachment of state land for Dr Ziauddin Hospital, kickbacks and commission through fertiliser cartel for illegal curtailment, fraud with the public in the name of a charity hospital and money-laundering.
The prosecution said that 80 per cent of the investigation into the PPP leader was complete and two weeks would be required to complete the remaining 20pc of the investigation and other formalities.
Defence lawyers Amir Raza Naqvi and Anwar Mansoor Khan argued against further detention of their client, citing psychological pressure. The defence counsel contended Dr Asim was physically and mentally disturbed due to his detention, and that the former minister was not mentally active.
The defence said his detention violated certain articles of the law. They maintained that he was not required for the investigation any longer and asked for him to be sent to prison on judicial remand.
Dr Haroon who was ordered to conduct a psychological check up of Dr Asim said in his report presented in court today that the detainee was under extreme mental stress and should be provided with an open and relaxed environment. He recommended conducted medical tests, including an MRI on Dr Asim.
The court directed NAB to conduct the recommended medical tests and investigations, take the reports to Dr Haroon and then comply with his directions.
Dr Asim, a close aide of former president Asif Zardari, was arrested by Rangers on Aug 26 from his office. His arrest was described as the first major action against PPP leaders during the ongoing Karachi operation.
Following the end of his 90-day preventive detention on Nov 25, the Rangers handed him over to police after lodging a case against him for allegedly treating and harbouring terrorists at the North Nazimabad and Clifton branches of Dr Ziauddin Hospital at the behest of PPP and MQM leaders.
Police sought multiple extensions in his remand for further questioning and collection of evidence in a case relating to treatment of, and sheltering, terrorists. His police remand was due to end on Dec 12, but the police released him earlier as it could not find any terror-related evidence against him.
The Rangers moved the Sindh High Court (SHC) against the police move to release Dr Asim alleging that enough evidence existed against the PPP leader to charge him for the offences mentioned in the FIR.
Dr Asim was re-arrested on Dec 21 by police after Justice Naimatullah Phulpoto of the Sindh High Court threw out a report for his release and sent the case for trial.
The judge disagreed with the report submitted by DSP Altaf Hussain, the second investigation officer (IO) in the case, and observed that he was not “legally justified to release accused Dr Asim Hussain” and ordered his trial on terror charges.
In the hearing on Dec 30, an Anti-Terrorism Court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for five absconders in the terror case registered against Dr Asim Hussain, ordering IO DSP Altaf Hussain to arrest and produce the absconders ? Muttahida Qaumi Movement's (MQM) Waseem Akhtar, Anis Qaimkhani, Saleem Shahzad, PPP's Qadir Patel and Pasban leader Usman Moazzam ? before the court on the date of the next hearing on January 8.
Dr Asim who is also facing a corruption case, was handed over to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Dec 11. NAB is conducting an inquiry into charges of misuse of authority in allotment of plots and encroachment of state land for Dr Ziauddin Hospital, kickbacks and commission through fertiliser cartel for illegal curtailment, fraud with the public in the name of a charity hospital and money-laundering. NAB sought multiple extensions in his remand.
The last such extension was on Dec 23, when an accountability court allowed NAB to keep him in custody for two more weeks by further extending his physical remand in the corruption case.
The investigating officer (IO), Zameer Abbasi, had contended that Dr Asim’s custody was required to carry out more arrests, detect the remaining transactions, analyse the seized record, collect the joint investigation team’s report and complete the process on the suspect’s application.