Khawaja brothers case adjourned till 23rd Dec

LAHORE, Dec 9 (APP):An accountability court on Monday adjourned the hearing of Paragon City reference against former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique till December 23.

Jail staff produced Khawaja brothers on expiry of their judicial remand before Accountability Court Judge Syed Jawadul Hassan.

During the proceedings, Khawaja Saad Rafique addressed the judge and submitted that he wanted to say something. On getting permission, Khawaja Saad stated that trial in open court was fundamental right of every person.

He said that media, lawyers and others were not being allowed to attend the proceedings in his case and added that the police stopped media and lawyers from entering the courtroom during the hearing.
At this, the judge directed police that it should not stop media and lawyers from coming to his court and expressed displeasure.

Subsequently, the court allowed Khawaja Saad Rafique to travel to Islamabad for attending the National Assembly session and adjourned further hearing till December 23 while extending judicial remand of both brothers.

Besides Khawaja brothers, Nadeem Zia, Umar Zia, and Farhan Ali were also nominated in the reference.
The reference stated that the Khawaja brothers through their “benamidars” and with the abetment of former MPA Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue. The project was later converted into a new housing project namely Paragon City Pvt Ltd, which NAB said was an illegal society and not approved by the Lahore Development Authority.

The former railways minister and his brother received monetary benefits of Rs 58 million and Rs 39 million respectively, from the society through proxy firms under the garb of consultancy services, it added.

Khawaja brothers were arrested on Dec 11, 2018 by the Bureau. A Lahore High Court bench dismissed post-arrest bail petitions of the Khawaja brothers on June 18. However, they had not approached the apex court in the matter yet.

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