Former minister sent to jail on judicial remand

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LAHORE: An accountability court on Wednesday rejected a request of National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for extension in physical remand of former Provincial Minister Sibtain Khan and three others in Chiniot mining contract case and sent them to jail on judicial remand till July 17.

Besides the former minister, NAB officials produced Mines and Minerals Department former Secretary Imtiaz Ahmed, Former Manager Operations and Planning Muhammad Aslam and former Punjab Chief Inspector Mines Abdul Sattar, before accountability court Judge Ameer Muhammad Khan on expiry of the remand term.

The investigation officer submitted a report about investigations conducted so far and contended that further physical remand of the accused was required.

He submitted that rules were ignored in awarding the contract, whereas, a summary was forwarded to the chief minister for approval, a day before the end of government term.

He pleaded with the court for extending physical remand. At this, the court observed that the NAB obtained physical remand of the accused on the same grounds on the last hearing.

The official submitted that further investigations were required to get information about the persons who directed the committee for awarding the contract to an inexperienced company.

The court rejected the request for an extension in physical remand term on being dissatisfied with the reply and sent the accused to jail on judicial remand. The court directed the officials to produce them on expiry of the remand term.

It is pertinent to mention here that Sibtain Khan had resigned from his position as provincial minister for forestry, fisheries, and wildlife after being arrested by the NAB on June 15, 2019.

Sibtain Khan was arrested on charges of awarding a multi-billion-dollar contract to an alleged fake company in 2007. As Pakistan Muslim League-Quaid (PML-Q) minister for mines and minerals at that time, he had awarded a contract for extracting minerals in Chiniot district.

The NAB had also accused former Secretary Imtiaz Ahmad of constituting a committee comprising Muhammad Aslam and Abdul Sattar on the directions of then Minister Sibtain Khan for approval of the said contract.

During the process, former chief inspector mines, Abdul Sattar, provided a fake survey to the technical committee. Also, the operations manager, Muhammad Aslam, provided fake financial and technical figures. The NAB alleged that the accused in connivance with former minister did a joint venture with the company.

Courtesy: APP

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