Court indicts Khawaja brothers in Paragon Housing scam

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Lahore

An accountability court in Lahore on Wednesday indicted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and Member of the National Assembly (MNA) Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique in the Paragon Housing Society case. During the previous hearing on August 20, the indictment of the Khawaja brothers was delayed due to non-provision of readable copies of the reference to the suspects by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), and subsequently Judge Syed Jawadul Hassan extended their judicial remand till September 4.
The judge was told that the suspects were present in the court and the prosecution was ready for framing charges on them. However, defence counsel Amjad Pervez told the court that the copies of the reference and related documents supplied to the suspects were not readable. He said the court could not indict the suspects unless readable copies of the case documents were provided to the suspects by the NAB.
At this the judge directed a prosecutor to supply clear documents of the reference to the suspects without any delay. He regretted that the indictment of the suspects had been delayed on one pretext or the other. The judge fixed Sept 4 for the indictment and adjourned hearing.
Meanwhile, a heavy contingent of police was deployed around the court to prevent any untoward incident. The Khawaja brothers have been accused of embezzling nearly Rs2 billion. In all previous hearings, their defense counsel had repeatedly maintained before the court that the details of banking transactions of the last ten years had been handed over to the NAB.
However, NAB’s prosecutor had informed the court that according to records of the Paragon Housing Society an amount of Rs2 billion was transferred to sons of Salman Rafique and Nadeem Zia. Moreover, the Khawaja brothers are also accused of embezzlement in the scheme by exchanging 50 kanals of their land for 20 two-kanal plots each owned by the Paragon City.
Earlier on April 26, the NAB Lahore approved the filing of a reference against the Khawaja brothers and Nadeem Zia for the alleged corruption in the same case. The decision was taken in a regional board meeting that was attended by NAB Lahore’s director general and other directors.—INP