Anti-corruption court postpones charges against Parvez Elahi

LAHORE – An anti-corruption court on Thursday again stayed charges against former Chief Minister Punjab Chaudhry Parvez Elahi and others in the illegal appointments case in the Punjab Assembly. The court postponed the arraignment due to the absence of Chaudhry Parvez Elahi. Adiala prison officials did not produce the former chief minister before the court on medical grounds. They submitted a medical report stating that Elahi suffered injuries after falling in the prison washroom, and doctors advised him to rest. In response, Anti-Corruption Court Judge Arshad Hussain Bhutta stayed the charge sheet and postponed further hearing to May 13. The court also summoned all the accused for arraignment on the next date of hearing. The camp jail officials during the proceedings produced accused Muhammad Khan Bhatti, former principal secretary to Chief Minister Punjab, while ten other co-accused also appeared and marked their presence.

The Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab had registered the case and accused Parvez Elahi of illegal appointments and kickbacks. Qualified candidates were reportedly denied positions, while those who had not passed exams were appointed. The ACE alleged that Parvez Elahi abused his authority by influencing appointments after receiving bribes.

LAHORE (Agencies): An anti-corruption court on Thursday declared Rai Mumtaz, former secretary of the Punjab Assembly, as a criminal offender (PO) and issued perpetual arrest warrants in a case against Muhammad Khan Bhatti, former principal secretary to the Punjab chief minister, on charges of receiving session fees for 10 years despite being on compulsory leave. Judge Safdar Ali Bhatti of the Anti-Corruption Court presided over the case, with camp prison authorities also producing Muhammad Khan Bhatti.

At the commencement of the proceedings, a report was submitted on behalf of the Superintendent of the Camp Jail in response to Muhammad Khan Bhatti’s plea for grant of B-Class in prison. The court was informed that B-class facilities were available in the camp’s prison, and that Muhammad Khan Bhatti had been granted B-class status. It added that the transfer of the suspect to Kot Lakhpat prison was not required for this purpose. An investigating officer of the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab informed the court that Rai Mumtaz had neither joined the investigation nor attended court proceedings despite publishing advertisements in newspapers. He requested the court to label the suspect as the perpetrator. Following this, the court granted the request and declared Rai Mumtaz a declared offender for persistent evasion of proceedings and issued his perpetual arrest warrants. The court postponed further proceedings until May 9. ACE had filed a complaint against Muhammad Khan Bhatti, accusing him of receiving sitting allowance from the Punjab Assembly for the period 2009 to 2018 despite being on compulsory leave. Rai Mumtaz was accused of approving Rs 3.2 million as session fee to the accused.