Lahore: Haris Mills owner again denied bail
LAHORE: A Lahore High Court division bench on Monday once again denied bail to Haris Steel Mills owner Sheikh Afzal, who is involved in the billions of rupees Bank of Punjab (BoP) loan scam.
The bench headed by Chief Justice Ijaz Ahmad Chaudhry on May 24 dismissed bail petitions of Afzal and main accused in the loan scam Hamesh Khan, former BoP president. Later, Afzal engaged PPP senator and former federal law minister Babar Awan and filed second bail petition on new grounds.
Awan in his arguments during Monday`s proceedings said his client had been in jail for the last 19 months, but his trial had not started so far. He pointed out that at least 25 hearings had been held by the trial court in the case.
He pointed out that after the amendment to section 497 of the Criminal Procedure Code through a presidential ordinance, bail could be extended to an accused if his trial does not start for a year. He asked the court to allow the bail petition, saying that his client was being punished for nothing.
Arguing on behalf the BoP, Barrister Maqsooma Zahra Bokhari opposed the bail petition and said the law for concession of bail under Section 497 of the CrPC was not applicable to NAB accused and they could not be released on bail on the pretext of this law.
Ms Bokhari pointed out that Afzal was desperate, as he had hurled threats at the Punjab advocate general and weapons were seized from his custody in jail.
The bench dismissed the bail petition after hearing both sides. NAB arrested Afzal and his son Haris from Malaysia and Hamesh Khan from the US, as they had fled after NAB filed a reference against them.