The National Accountability Bureau arrested former Punjab chief minister Shehbaz Sharif in Ashiana housing scam on Friday and he was remanded to NAB custody for 10 days on Saturday by an accountability court. But what does the law say about all this?
According to the NAB law, there are two initial processes before a reference is filed. When a complaint has been filed, the first stage is that NAB starts its own inquiry. The second stage is when NAB starts an investigation.
“NAB is an independent institution. It can arrest any person. So, now the responsibility lies on it to prove the charges against Shehbaz,” Barrister Ali Zafar, the former caretaker information minister, told SAMAA TV.
There are usually two reasons why a suspect is arrested. The first is to arrest for further investigation and the second is because NAB has enough evidence to arrest someone.
“Cancelling a contract is not a crime but giving the contract to someone else on a preferred basis is a crime. If it is proven that the contract was given on a non-merit basis then it comes under the arena of corruption case,” explained Zafar.
If Shehbaz is found guilty by NAB, under Section 10 of the NAB Law, the maximum punishment is 14 years of imprisonment and all his property will be seized. He can appeal the decision in the high court and then in the Supreme Court.
“In such cases, bail is likely to be granted by the court,” said Zafar.
“If the court grants Shehbaz’s physical remand, he cannot be granted bail for the next 90 days,” commented Adnan Adil, a senior analyst.
Shehbaz is accused of illegally awarding the contract for the Ashiana Housing Society project to a favoured contractor.