LNG case: Abbasi’s physical remand extended till August 29

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Basharat Raja

ISLAMABAD

An accountability court on Thursday extended the physical remand of former prime minister and Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) Vice President Shahid Khaqan Abbasi till August 29 in an ongoing probe into the liquefied natural gas (LNG) case.

The NAB official produced the former prime minister before AC-I Judge Muhammad Bashir after ending of his physical remand time. During outset of hearing, the NAB prosecutor apprised the judge regarding development in investigation process and prayed the court to grant further remand of the accused person.

Judge Muhammad Bashir asked the bureau how much more remand it needed. NAB asked for 14 days which the judge approved. The judge asked NAB to try to complete the investigation and present the former PM in court on August 29.

Abbasi then told the court that during the probe, NAB asks for documents and that whatever he is asked he gives an answer for that. He stated that he had no objection over his further physical remand.

This is the third time NAB has been awarded physical remand for Abbasi. Earlier on, he was sent on 13 days and then on 14 days of physical remand.

Shahid Khaqan Abbasi met PML-N leaders Khawaja Asif, Maryam Aurangzeb and Musaddaq Malik in court room.

A journalist asked Abbasi outside court if he has made NAB understand LNG case.

Former petroleum minister said we are making them to understand. It will take some time. More two weeks have been given.

When again asked by the journalist does he think NAB will understand it within 14 days? Abbasi replied “we will try. It is syllabus of adult Literacy.

Abbasi was arrested by the anti-corruption watchdog last month near Thokar Niaz Baig Toll Plaza in connection with an ongoing investigation into the allegedly illegal award of the LNG contract. According to the NAB arrest warrant, Abbasi is accused of commission of the offence of corruption and corrupt practices under section 9 (a) of National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.

The bureau has been investigating him in the LNG corruption case. He has been accused of handing over a tender worth Rs220 billion to a company in which he was himself a shareholder during his tenure as federal petroleum minister.

Earlier on April 26, the names of former prime minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi, former finance minister Miftah Ismail and five others had been placed in exit control list in an inquiry into the LNG scandal.