LAHORE, Oct 30 (APP): A Lahore High Court (LHC) division bench on Wednesday, adjourning the hearing of Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz Vice President Maryam Nawaz’s bail petition in Chaudhry Sugar Mills (CSM) case till Oct 31, sought arguments from National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) prosecution team.
The division bench comprising Justice Ali Baqar Najafi and Justice Sardar Ahmad Naeem heard the post-arrest bail petition of the PML-N leader, wherein, the defence counsel advanced his arguments.
Advocate Amjad Pervaiz on behalf of Maryam Nawaz briefed the bench about the grounds of his client’s arrest and the trial court proceedings.
He submitted that the bureau had accused Maryam of abetting her father in acquisition of two sugar mills- Chaudhry Sugar Mills and Shamim Sugar Mills, from funds beyond known means of income.
It was also alleged that Maryam had failed to provide sources for purchasing shares of CSM from three foreign nationals in 2008, he added.
Denying the allegations, he submitted that Mian Muhammad Sharif had set up Chaudhry Sugar Mills in 1991, wherein, all members of sharif family were partners and details to this extent was also provided to Securities and Exchange Commission of Pakistan.
The counsel submitted that Mian Sharif managed all affairs of the mill till his death in 2004, whereas, petitioner’s uncle Abass Sharif and then his son Yousaf Abass watched the interests of petitioner in the mill. He submitted that the petitioner never remained an active shareholder.
He submitted that the clause of abetment crime was introduced in the NAB Ordinance in 2002 and no retrospective effect was given to it by the legislature.
He submitted that no action could be taken against his client under the NAB ordinance for abetment crime from 1991 to 2002, as this period was not covered by the ordinance.
He further submitted that no action could also be taken against the petitioner under Anti-Money laundering Act, as it was enacted in 2010.
He submitted that it was not the first time that Chaudhry Sugar Mills case was being investigated.
It was also probed by the joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Supreme Court in the Panama case, he added.
At this stage, the bench questioned whether the Apex Court relied on the JIT investigations and report or not.
To which, the counsel stated that the Apex Court not only relied on the JIT report but also ordered NAB for filing references. However, the Apex Court did not ask for filing reference in Chaudhry Sugar Mills case, he added.
He submitted that the present NAB proceedings were based on malafide intentions as the JIT probed all assets/matters of the petitioner till 2017.
Amjad Pervaiz submitted that the petitioner had transferred all of her shares to his cousins, Yousaf Abass and Abdul Aziz Abass, and since 2016, she did not have any interest in the mills.
He submitted that Shamim Sugar Mills was set up in 2011 with an amount of Rs 1200 million, whereas, 1000 million loan was obtained from a bank consortium and remaining 200 million had been declared by the petitioner in her statement.
He pleaded with the court for grant of bail, saying that the petitioner was a woman and there was no evidence against her.
Subsequently, the bench adjourned further proceedings till October 31, after the defence counsel concluded his arguments. The bench directed NAB prosecution team to advance their arguments on the next date of hearing.