Court rejects bail application of ex-DG Haj
RAWALPINDI, Feb 7: A special court of Rawalpindi on Thursday rejected the bail application of former Director-General (DG) Haj of Ministry of Religious Affairs, Rao Shakeel Ahmed, the principal accused in the Haj corruption case.
Special Judge Central (SJC) Iftikahar Ahmed Khan observed that the accused Rao Shakeel was not entitled for release on bail, after the prosecution informed him that the trial of the accused was at the final stage.
However, Rao Shakeel through his counsel, Amjad Pervez, had applied for his release on bail under the principal of consistency.
As the same court had earlier granted bail to former minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi, who was also an accused in the Haj corruption case.
According to Rao Shakeel’s counsel, under the law of consistency after granting bail to an accused, the court may accept the bail plea of other accused involved in the same case.
On the other hand, FIA special prosecutor Chaudhry Zulfiqar Ali, opposed the bail of Rao Shakeel.
He pointed out that the nature of the offences against Rao Shakeel and former minister Hamid Saeed Kazmi were different.
According to him, Rao Shakeel had been indicted under sections 109, 409, 420, 468, 471 of Pakistan Penal Code (PPC) and 5 (2) 1947 of Prevention of Corruption Act (PCA) for fraud, cheating, misuse of authority, and causing loss to the national exchequer and the public at large.
He argued that the law of consistency, according to which the main accused could be granted bail after a co-accused obtains bail, is not applicable in the present case.
The FIA official said that the trial against the accused had reached a critical stage because the court had examined about 50 witnesses out of 93 witnesses.
He pointed out that the accused had sought adjournments of hearing 30 times, which had already delayed the disposal of the Haj corruption case.
He said that the former DG Haj allegedly embezzled 36 million Saudi Riyals as he received kickbacks in hiring of 87 buildings for pilgrims, adding that if the embezzlement was proved at a later stage, the attached accounts of Rao Shakeel would be confiscated