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ISLAMABAD: The Accountability Court, on Wednesday, fixed January 19 for announcement of its reserved judgment on the acquittal pleas filed by the co-accused in a corruption case against former finance minister Ishaq Dar under the National Accountability (Second Amendment) Ordinance, 2021.

The Accountability Court-I judge, Muhammad Bashir, while hearing the case fixed January 19 for announcement of its judgment on January 19 on the acquittal applications of three co-accused persons including former president National Bank of Pakistan (NBP), Saeed Ahmed, Naeem Mehmood, and Mansoor Rizvi - two directors of Dar’s companies.

During the hearing, the NAB prosecutor informed the court that the record of the case has been shifted from the Islamabad High Court (IHC) to the accountability court.

The IHC had sought the case record in a petition of Tabassum Ishaq – wife of Ishaq Dar – challenging the confiscation of her house. On this, the court observed that it will announce its verdict on application of accused seeking acquittal.

Earlier, the court reserved its judgment after completion of arguments of defense and prosecution regarding the acquittal applications of the accused. During the previous hearing, the defence counsel told the court that following promulgation of the National Accountability (second amendment) Ordinance, the reference against the co-accused be rejected as they have no connection with public office holder.

The NAB prosecutor, Afzal Qureshi, while arguing before the court said that the co-accused have remained director and shareholder of the main accused companies as well as there are concrete evidence of their connection with him. He further told the court that the same court had earlier also rejected the acquittal pleas of the co-accused.

After promulgation of the National Accountability (second amendment) Ordinance 2021, the case falls under the jurisdiction of the NAB, he said, adding that there is provision in CrPC keeping white-collar crimes on hold.

The three co-accused in the case; including former president National Bank of Pakistan (NBP) - Saeed Ahmed, Mehmood, and Rizvi were in the supplementary reference filed against Dar by the NAB. The court on April 5, 2018 had indicted the three accused.

The court has already declared Dar the main accused in the case, a proclaimed offender for continuously remaining absent during court proceedings.

Copyright Business Recorder, 2021

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