Chaudhry Sugar Mills case: Maryam Nawaz to be released shortly

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LAHORE  – An accountability court in Lahore on Wednesday issued ‘robkar’ (mandamus) for the release of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) vice president Maryam Nawaz from Kot Lakhpat Jail against two surety bonds worth Rs10 million each.

Reportedly, duty judge Amjad Nazir Chaudhry has issued her robkar after the surety bonds were submitted and scrutinised in the accountability court.

Meanwhile, PML-N leaders are on their way to the jail, and she is expected to be released shortly.

The PML-N leader was expected to be released yesterday; however, the surety bonds were not submitted as court hours (3pm) exceeded. The registrar had asked her lawyer to proceed with the remaining work tomorrow (today).

The PML-N’s lawyer informed the registrar of the LHC that all documents of Maryam Nawaz’s bail were completed. He requested the registrar to issue instructions for obtaining bail bonds.

On Nov 4, the LHC granted bail to Maryam Nawaz in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case.

A two-member bench headed by Justice Ali Baqar Najafi announced the verdict – reserved on October 31 – on Maryam Nawaz’s bail plea. The bench has directed Maryam Nawaz to submit her passport in the LHC.

The court order consisting of 24 pages also directed the PML-N leader to deposit 70 million separately with the court.

The detailed verdict stated that it has been agreed that Maryam Nawaz being a woman must be given bail as she neither remained absconder nor did she created hurdles in interrogation.

The verdict further stated that corruption prevails in the country that needed to be controlled with firm hands. It added that the arrest of a person cannot be used as indictment.

LHC said it cannot intervene in the matters of trial court. It said allegations of withdrawal of Rs700 million from the account of Maryam Nawaz needs further investigation.

It further said the statement of Naseer Abdullah submitted by prosecution was not attested by Foreign Office and the statements of foreigners were still not recorded in Chaudhary Sugar Mills case.

During the previous hearing, National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutor responded to the arguments recorded by defence lawyer Amjad Pervez and opposed Maryam’s bail in the case, saying that proceedings against her were launched in accordance with the law on a report submitted by the Financial Monitoring Unit in 2018.

“There are chances that the accused could flee the country or go underground if released on bail,” NAB maintained.

Previously, lawyer Amjad Pervez said that money laundering case against his client is baseless and that she was made Chief Executive of Chaudhry Sugar Mills only in papers. NAB had breached law and arrested Maryam in money laundering case despite revealing all the assets in Panama Leaks case, he added.

Earlier, NAB had submitted preliminary investigative report to the LHC stating that PML-N vice-president’s crime is not against one individual but the entire society, and she keeps on obstructing the probe against her. “Yousaf Abbas, accused in Chaudhry Sugar Mills reference, had also tried to escape before”, read the report.

The PML-N leader owned 8,064,000 shares of Sugar Mills, while from 2008 to 2010, she became the owner of 47% shares. Nawaz Sharif and his daughter, Maryam Nawaz, invested in Chaudhry and Shamim Sugar Mills, but both of them did not disclose their investments, the reported added.

On October 24, Maryam Nawaz had filed a plea in LHC requesting the court to release her on bail as her father was unwell and undergoing medical treatment at the hospital.

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