Bail option limited in NAB cases, remarks SC judge | The Express Tribune



A three-member bench of the Supreme Court asked the lawyer for former opposition leader in National Assembly and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah to give arguments on the bail plea only if he could explain the assets of the petitioner.

The bench, headed by Justice Mushir Alam and comprising Justice Sardar Tariq Masood and Justice Yahya Afridi, while hearing the appeal filed by Shah and his son, also remarked that the option of bail was limited in the National Accountability (NAB) cases.

A three-member bench of the Supreme Court on Monday adjourned the hearing of former opposition leader in National Assembly and Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) leader Syed Khursheed Ahmed Shah’s post-arrest bail plea till a date in office.

NAB accuses Shah of accumulating assets to the tune of Rs1,229,449,803, which were disproportionate to his known sources of income. NAB says that an inquiry was conducted and after collecting evidence, a reference was filed in NAB Court in Sukkur against Shah and 17 others.

NAB has also approached the Supreme Court against the bail granted to Shah’s son-in-law, wife and others. During the proceedings on Monday, Advocate Raza Rabbani, counsel for Shah, requested the court for time for preparation to answer to the questions asked by the bench.

Justice Alam said that the option of bail was limited in NAB cases, adding that a larger bench of the apex court had also clarified the principle of bail. However, Rabbani said that he was unaware of the larger bench’s decision. Upon this Justice Alam responded that it seemed his team did not assist him properly.

Justice Afridi told the defence counsel that in the high court Shah had accepted his family’s properties, and asked Rabbani to give arguments on merit only when he could explain that the assets were in line with his income. He also asked Rabbani about the sources of income of Shah when he entered politics.

Rabbani responded that Syed Khursheed Shah had declared all the properties in the wealth statements. However, Justice Afridi responded that the matter was not about disclosing properties, rather it pertained to the sources of income.

The counsel said that the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) never issued notice to his client and added that NAB made the case by overestimating the value of the assets. He added that Shah was also investigated in 2001 but NAB did not find anything for 7 years and later closed the investigation.

Justice Afridi said that everything about sources of income would reveal through record. Rabbani pleaded to the court to grant him time for preparation of the case. The court accepted the plea and adjourned hearing till date in office.

The court also disposed of a second bail application filed by Khursheed Shah. Advocate Aitzaz Ahsan said that the second bail plea was filed before filing of NAB reference in the accountability court, which has now become infructuous. He said that he wanted to withdraw the application.

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