ISLAMABAD: As the former prime minister and Chairman PTI Imran Khan joined the investigation of the National Accountability Bureau into £190 million National Crime Agency (NCA) settlement scam, the Combined Investigation Team grilled him for hours on Tuesday. He was also questioned for records of all donations the Al-Qadir Trust received from him and others.
According to sources, during the four-hour investigation, the NAB’s Combined Investigation Team sought Imran’s response to over 20 questions related to the illegal transfer of £190 million NCA UK settlement scam, sought the records of correspondence with the British crime agency and also about financial as well as administrative affairs of the Al-Qadir Trust.
Sources said the NAB questionnaire asked about the summary for the approval of the return of money from the UK in December 2019. “Why did the UK agree to surrender illegal withdrawals in December 2019? Why did they take the land and other financial benefits of Al-Qadir University in return from the accused,” sources said.
The sources said Imran Khan told the CIT that the record of the decision on £190 million was lying with the Cabinet Division and he did not have access to the NCA UK records.
To another question regarding the Al-Qadir Trust, Imran said the NAB has already received the records of trust.
Regarding £190 million, he told the CIT that this amount was deposited in the Supreme Court account and it should be checked from there. There were also some breaks in the four-hour-long interrogation.
According to sources, Imran was asked why he misused the power while sitting in the highest public office and why did they commit a criminal act by returning the money from the UK to the accused.
He was also asked why correspondence with the British National Crime Agency was kept secret and, similarly, why the summary of East Recovery Unit was kept a secret, sources said. The NAB also sought his asset details and bank account details.
NAB sources said the former prime minister did not bring sufficient documents/evidence with him. He was provided with the relevant documents and questions and directed to bring the documents with him at the next appearance. But the anti-graft organisation did not specify the next date for his appearance and restricted to saying that he will be called soon.
According to sources, the NAB also asked for the records of all the donations the Al-Qadir Trust received from Imran and others. Sources said the NAB also sought the details of assets held by Imran Khan and details of his bank accounts.
The NAB sources claimed that the former prime minister will be given an ample opportunity to defend himself and any premature speculation would be exaggerated.
Meanwhile, former prime minister and PTI Chairman Imran Khan and his wife Bushra Bibi secured bail from separate courts in their cases.
The Anti-Terrorist Court (ATC), Islamabad, Judge Raja Jawad Abbas, has once again extended interim bail of former prime minister Imran Khan in eight cases registered against him. The court has extended the interim bail of Imran Khan till June 8, 2023. Imran Khan was present in the courtroom here on Tuesday.
The former prime minister, who is facing a number of cases, reached the Islamabad Judicial Complex. The prosecutor, opposing an extension in interim bail of the former premier, said he was not joining the investigation despite court orders.
The accused has to join the investigation after security interim bail but Imran Khan is saying his leg is injured and he cannot join the probe.
Salman Safdar, Imran’s counsel in his arguments, said his client was booked in over 160 cases and added they were ready to join the investigation. But the investigation officer is not interested to leave his office, Safdar said and added Imran Khan will respond to the questionnaire within three days.
The court, after hearing arguments from both sides, extended Imran’s interim bail in eight cases until June 8. The judge also directed the JIT to inform the court how they wanted Imran Khan to join the investigation.
Security was beefed up at the judicial complex and the NAB office ahead of the PTI chief’s arrival and a large contingent of police was deployed there to deal with any untoward incident.
The former prime minister, in his statement before the Anti-Terrorism Court, said he was ready to join the investigation but wanted a JIT in line with the LHC verdict. “I put my life at risk every time I leave the house,” the Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf chairman said and added Interior Minister Rana Sanaullah also confirmed a life threat to him.
In a related development, the Accountability Court No.1 Judge, Muhammad Bashir, granted pre-arrest bail to Bushra Bibi, the wife of former prime minister Imran Khan, in the Al-Qadir Trust case here. The court has approved pre-arrest bail till May 31 and directed Bushra Bibi to submit surety bonds of Rs500,000. The PTI chief and his wife reached the Accountability Court under tight security arrangements where Bushra Bibi marked her attendance.
At the outset of the hearing, the former first lady’s lawyer Khawaja Haris appeared before the court and filed an application for Bushra Bibi’s interim bail. During the hearing, Haris informed the court that Bushra Bibi did not receive any notice from the anti-graft body. Subsequently, the court accepted the bail application till May 31 and issued a notice to NAB seeking its reply.
It is pertinent to note that Bushra Bibi’s protective bail from the Lahore High Court was ending on May 23, upon which the legal team decided to file an application for interim bail in the Islamabad High Court and later in the accountability court.
On May 15, a division bench of the LHC granted protective bail to the PTI chief’s wife till May 23 in the Al-Qadir Trust case. It was the first appearance by the former first lady in court to attend proceedings in a case lodged against her. The deposed prime minister is already on bail till May 31 in the trust case.
Meanwhile, Additional Sessions Judge Bilal Baig announced the reserved verdict in the Zille Shah case and rejected the interim bails of PTI leaders Yasmeen Rashid, Mahmoodur Rashid and Farrukh Habib. Their bails were rejected on grounds of non-representation by their respective lawyers.