LAHORE: Pakistan Tehreek-e-Insaf (PTI) President, Parvez Elahi, appeared before an anti-corruption court on Friday, following his dramatic arrest a day earlier.
The Punjab Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) had taken him into custody in relation to a corruption case involving embezzlement of development funds amounting to Rs70 million, allocated for the Gujrat district. Elahi’s bail request was subsequently rejected.
Several corruption cases have been registered against the former Punjab chief minister, with allegations of receiving kickbacks in exchange for awarding government development projects during his tenure. Prior to his hearing, Elahi addressed reporters, proclaiming his innocence and expressing his support for the Pakistan Army. In a message to PTI party workers and supporters, the former CM urged them to remain resilient during these challenging times.
Speaking exclusively to Private Media, Elahi indirectly criticized former party members who recently announced their decision to part ways with Imran Khan, asserting that he would not hold a press conference in response. Elahi also laid blame on Punjab Caretaker Chief Minister Mohsin Naqvi, claiming that he had been subjected to injustice without any political case being filed against him.
During the court proceedings, Judicial Magistrate Ghulam Murtaza reserved the verdict after hearing Elahi’s case. The ACE requested a 14-day physical remand for Elahi. Advocate Rana Intizar, representing Elahi, informed the court that all relevant project documents were available. Elahi’s counsel further claimed that the anti-corruption watchdog was attempting to establish its own authority by influencing the selection of judges presiding over corruption cases. It was also revealed that a payment of Rs360 million was made on January 17, 2023, during Naqvi’s tenure as chief minister.
The former Punjab CM faces two cases registered in Gujranwala related to the alleged receipt of kickbacks in awarding contracts, as well as another case filed in Lahore. Earlier, a special judge of the anti-corruption court in Lahore issued non-bailable arrest warrants for Elahi, with a deadline of June 2 for his production. The Punjab Police and Elite Force had cordoned off the vicinity of Elahi’s residence, prohibiting access to and from the premises.
In April, the ACE Gujranwala filed a case against the PTI president based on sources, accusing him of accepting a bribe of Rs2 billion for a development scheme contract. Additionally, Elahi faces another case (FIR No 6/23) involving an alleged bribe of Rs120 million from a Turkish company, an international organization.
The anti-corruption court judge also declared Elahi’s medical certificate, which claimed he had experienced chest pain, as bogus.