Court allows pleas for closing inquiries against Chaudhry brothers

LAHORE:An accountability court on Monday allowed pleas filed by National Accountability Bureau (NAB) for closing two inquiries against Pakistan Muslim League – Quaid (PML-Q) leaders Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, Speaker Punjab Assembly and their family members over charges of accumulating assets beyond means.

Accountability Court Judge Sheikh Sajjad Ahmad announced the verdict which had been reserved earlier after hearing arguments of the NAB prosecution.

In his final arguments, NAB prosecutor Asad Ullah argued that the investigating officer had recommended to close inquiries against Shujaat Hussain, Pervaiz Elahi and others as no trial-worthy material or evidence surfaced during the course of investigation. He further submitted that the NAB chairman and its executive board had also given the approval for their closure in the light of report of investigation officer. He pleaded with the court for final approval of closing the inquiries.

Meanwhile, the court summoned NAB investigation officer for May 6 on an application seeking final approval for closing illegal appointments’ inquiry against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi.

The bureau had filed applications for closing three inquiries initiated 20 years ago against Chaudhry brothers. The first inquiry against Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his family members was related to allegations of accumulating assets beyond means. Similarly, the second was against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi and the family, accusing them of acquiring assets beyond means. The third was against Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi for making illegal appointments in local government departments.

The Chaudhry brothers had challenged the inquiries against them before the Lahore High Court in 2020. They stated that the investigation officer had recommended to close inquiries against them and the regional board also approved the same in 2017 and 2018.

However, NAB chairman approved reinvestigation and bifurcation of the inquiries against them after 20 years. They asked the court to set aside the authorisation of the inquiries and the order for their bifurcation for being unlawful.

In January, the NAB had told the LHC that the inquiries had been closed for want of evidence.