LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Thursday closed the investigation against Punjab Assembly Speaker and PML-Q leader Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, citing lack of evidence in the case.
The decision was made during a meeting of the anti-graft watchdog’s executive board presided over by NAB Chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal.
The anti-corruption body, in July, had accused PML-Q chief Chaudhry Shujaat Hussain and his cousin, Chaudhry Pervaiz Elahi, of accumulating illegal assets and money laundering.
Responding to the Chaudhry brothers’ petition at the Lahore High Court against 20-year-old inquiries by NAB, the watchdog had said Elahi and his family members’ wealth has shot up to Rs4.06 billion while Hussain and his family members’ wealth rose to Rs2.55 billion from 1985 to 2018.
NAB had said the two accused were asked to submit assets pro-forma and explain how their personal, as well as their family’s wealth, increased. Several deadline extensions were given but they failed to do so. According to the bureau’s report, evidence connected the petitioners with offences of corruption and corrupt practices.
On the other hand, the PML-Q leaders — allies of the PTI-led government — had alleged in their petition that NAB was being used for political engineering and old cases against them were being repeatedly opened and closed.
They had further stressed that in 2000, the then chairman authorised an investigation against them on allegations of misuse of authority, owning assets beyond means, and willful default under the National Accountability Ordinance 1999.
All three investigations were recommended for closure by NAB’s investigating officers and regional board during 2017 and 2018 when the regime of political arch-rivals was in place, they had said.