Paragon Housing scam: Court rejects Khawaja brothers’ acquittal plea

LAHORE, Oct 16 (INP): An accountability court on Wednesday rejected acquittal pleas of former railways minister Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Khawaja Salman Rafique in Paragon Housing Society case.

Khawaja brothers had filed petitions for their acquittal and also challenged jurisdiction of the court in the case.

Accountability Court Judge Jawad ul Hassan announced the decision, which was reserved in a previous hearing.

The accountability court extended judicial remand of Khawaja Saad Rafique and Salman Rafique till Oct. 30.

The court directed the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to continue its work as the law.

The court also summoned witnesses to record their statements in next hearing of the case.

The court had indicted Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader and Member of the National Assembly Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique in the Paragon Housing Society case.

The Khawaja brothers have been accused of embezzling an amount of around two billion.

The court indicted both the PML-N leaders in the reference and provided copies of the indictment; however, their lawyer opposed the indictment and requested the court to grant 7 days to read the documents.

To this the judge said, the court has only indicted the suspects in the reference, not punished them.

Khawaja Saad, and Salman Rafique decided to challenge the ambit of the court and pleaded not guilty.

The Khawaja brothers, Nadeem Zia, Umar Zia, and Farhan Ali were named accused in the reference comprising of 17 volumes.

According to the reference, the Khawaja brothers and Nadeem Zia owned 93.2 per cent shares in the Paragon Housing Society.

It states that the former railway minister received monetary benefits to the tune of Rs58 million from the society whereas his brother Rs39 million.