LHC dismisses Sheikh Afzal’s bail in BoP scam


LAHORE: The Lahore High Court (LHC) on Tuesday rejected bail application of Sheikh Afzal, who is owner of Haris Steel Mills, and his co-accused in the Rs9 billion Bank of Punjab (BoP) scam.
Sheikh Afzal and his son Haris Afzal were arrested from Malaysia in 2009. According to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB), Afzal and his accomplices Muhammad Munir, Ali Ijaz, Abid Raza and Irfan Ali, in connivance with former BoP chief Hamesh Khan and other officials, allegedly opened 23 fake accounts with forged national identity cards and obtained loan of approximately Rs9 billion from 2005 to 2007 also by using fake documentation, bogus collateral, fictitious guarantees and mortgage deeds executed by fictitious persons.
NAB filed a reference on September 27, 2007, against 12 people, including six BoP officials. Hamesh’s name was put on the exit control list (ECL), however, he managed to flee the country on March 27, 2008.
The counsel for the petitioners submitted that no allegation had been proved against Sheikh Afzal despite the fact that he was produced before the court over 56 times. 
He submitted that under Article 25 of the Constitution, all citizens were equal but clear discrimination could be seen in this matter as no bank fraud case had been conducted in this manner.
Referring to recent amendments to the Criminal Procedure Code, he said that Sheikh Afzal was neither a terrorist nor a dangerous person; therefore, he should be granted concession of bail. 
He sought concession of bail as Sheikh Afzal was falsely involved in the case and also because he did not enjoy good health.
Opposing the bail application, the counsel for the BoP submitted that law for concession of bail under Section 497 CrPC was not applicable to NAB cases and that they could not be released on bail.
After hearing the arguments, the court dismissed the bail application.
LHC seeks practical steps taken by govt to defeat dengue: Lahore High Court Chief Justice Umar Ata Bandial on Tuesday directed the health department to apprise the court of practical steps it has taken to control dengue by May 15.A law officer informed the court that the government had taken various steps to control dengue.
Counsel for the petitioner Muhammad Azhar Siddque alleged that the government was making false claims as it had miserably failed to contain the disease and the people were still dying of it. He said that precious lives could have been saved had the government taken a timely action.
He said that dengue outbreak might start at any point of time again but the government had not taken any conclusive precautionary steps to control it. He alleged that millions of rupees had been embezzled in purchase of anti-dengue medicines from January 2012 to September 2013. He also alleged that the health officials and some government high-ups were involved in purchase of substandard and expired anti-dengue medicines.
He requested the court to issue directives to the provincial government to hold a transparent inquiry into the embezzlement.

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