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The Accountability Court on Friday remanded former Prime Minister Shahid Khaqan Abbasi into National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) custody for 13 days in liquefied petroleum gas (LNG) contract scam. The NAB officials produced the former premier before Accountability Court Judge Muhammad Bashir and requested the court to grant a 14-day physical remand of Abbasi for conducting investigations.

The anti-graft body arrested Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Abbasi at Thokar Niaz Baig interchange, Lahore, on Thursday last close to the bureau's provincial headquarters. Abbasi was coming from Islamabad along with PML-N Secretary General Ahsan Iqbal and Information Secretary Marriyum Aurangzeb to attend a press conference of Opposition Leader in the National Assembly Shehbaz Sharif in Model Town, Lahore. During the hearing, Abbasi came to rostrum and urged the judge to grant NAB his physical remand for 90 days so that he could explain the LNG case to the NAB in detail. "I was completely cooperating with NAB but even then they arrested me," he said.

The judge said that under the law, 90-day physical remand could not be granted at once. Abbasi requested the court to allow homemade diet food during custody. The court responded that the anti-graft body will itself provide better food to him. The court after hearing arguments granted 13-day physical remand of Abbasi and directed NAB to produce him before it on August 1.

According to NAB, the competent authority has taken cognizance of an 'offence' committed by Abbasi under the provisions of National Accountability Ordinance (NAO), 1999 on the allegation of deceitfully, fraudulently and dishonestly causing loss to the national exchequer, misuse of authority and obtaining pecuniary advantage through corrupt, dishonest and illegal means during the award of LNG Terminal-I.

It said, "The investigation has revealed that you are in possession of information and evidence regarding award of LNG Terminal-I to M/s EETPL, etc, which relates to the commission of the said offence."

Copyright Business Recorder, 2015

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