ISLAMABAD: The Supreme Court has granted bail to Ahad Cheema, the main accused in the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Society scandal and former Director General Lahore Development Authority (LDA), and co-accused Shahid Shafiq.
The court granted bail to Ahad Cheema and co-accused in exchange for one million bonds.
During the hearing, Supreme Court Judge Sardar Tariq Masood asked the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to state that the accused had been in custody for two years and nine months.
During the hearing, NAB Special Prosecutor Imranul Haq told the court that Bismillah Engineering was in fact a dummy of Paragon Housing. Paragon transferred the money to Bismillah Engineering’s account, the same amount Bismillah Engineering transferred to LDA’s account.
According to the NAB officer, the land was transferred to Ahad Cheema, his brother Ahmed, sister Sadia Mansoor and relative Ahmed Hassan before the Ashiana Housing Agreement. Eight kanals of land were transferred to the names of all the persons 3 weeks before the agreement.
The NAB counsel pleaded that Ahmed Cheema was the main accused and bail should not be granted. The lawyer of the accused said that the accused has been in jail for 2 years and 9 months. With such a delay, bail becomes legal.
Justice Sardar Tariq Masood said that in these circumstances why not give bail to the accused on the basis of hardship. After the hearing, the court granted bail to Ahad Cheema and the co-accused.
Earlier the Lahore accountability court had acquitted 10 accused including Ahad Cheema in a city corruption case. The court had also granted the request to close the NAB probe against 10 accused, including Ahad Cheema.
It may be recalled that Ahad Cheema was arrested by the NAB in February 2018 on charges of financial corruption, damage to the public exchequer, and abuse of power. Ahad Cheema was accused of illegally giving land worth crores of rupees to himself, his brother, sister, and cousin.
Ahad Cheema not only spent several days in the NAB’s custody on physical remand but also spent more than two years in jail.
On February 24, in connection with the Ashiana Iqbal Housing Society scandal, the NAB also arrested Shahid Shafiq, a central official of Bismillah Engineering Services.