Amid strong resistance by his guards and protests by PPP supporters, a team of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) failed to arrest Sindh Assembly Speaker Agha Siraj Durrani and returned after staying outside his residence for 15 hours, it emerged on Thursday morning.
According to a report published in the Daily Jang, the NAB team had raided the house of Agha Siraj Durrani at 4 pm on Wednesday after the Sindh High Court rejected his bail plea, along with requests filed by 10 other individuals.
Durrani’s guards and party activists resisted when the NAB team attempted to arrest him. A large number of his supporters had gathered outside his residence and stayed at the venue the whole night to guard their leader. They foiled NAB’s attempt to arrest Durrani.
Sources within NAB had told Geo News that two special teams had been formed to take Durrani into custody.
Durrani is wanted by NAB for allegedly owning assets beyond known sources of income. A 16-page written verdict authored by Justice Iqbal Kalhoro was issued on Wednesday.
According to the verdict, the speaker’s assets amount to Rs1.61 billion, whereas in 2018, they were Rs0.18 billion.
The judgment had noted that none of his family members has ever held any political office.
NAB had alleged that Durrani bought the property in the name of his children with illegal income, the judgment further observed.
An accountability court in Karachi had indicted Durrani and 18 others in a case pertaining to owning assets beyond known means of income back in December 2020.
Durrani, however, has denied all the charges levelled against him.
The PPP leader was arrested in February last year by NAB in an investigation pertaining to alleged movable and immovable assets beyond his known sources of income, making 352 illegal appointments, embezzlement of public funds in the construction of the MPA Hostel and the new Sindh Assembly building, as well as the appointment of project directors for these schemes.
NAB filed a reference against the PPP leader, his family members and others for allegedly accumulating assets worth Rs1.6 billion through illegal means.
The anti-graft watchdog claims Durrani was unable to account for a difference of Rs1,610,669,528 between his declared income from 1985 to 2018, and assets including properties and vehicles.
The bureau’s report said Durrani misrepresented the value of 27 declared and undeclared assets including properties and investments. NAB said the assets were valued at Rs479.4 million but the PPP leader showed them to be worth Rs151.6 million.
NAB said Durrani is the beneficiary of seven benami properties worth over Rs1 billion — six of which are in Defence Housing Authority (DHA), and one in Malir. These properties were bought in the name of his workers.
The bureau said it obtained details from the Election Commission of Pakistan (ECP) and the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR). It said the Durrani family’s total declared income was Rs110.4 million whereas he declared it to be Rs82 million through salary, agriculture, business, rentals, bank accounts and fishpond.
The report said Durrani accumulated assets and pecuniary resources through illegal means and in connivance with others named in the reference after he was first appointed local bodies minister then the speaker.
NAB said the named persons had committed an offence of corruption as defined in sections 9(a)(iii)(iv)(v)(xii) and 10 of the National Accountability Ordinance.