An accountability court on Monday turned down the National Accountability Bureau’s (NAB) request for an extension of PTI chief Imran Khan’s physical remand, and instead sent him on judicial remand in the Al Qadir Trust case. Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir issued the directives while conducting the hearing at Adiala Jail. The development comes a day after a NAB team visited Imran at the jail and interrogated him for a couple of hours in the case. The case alleges that the ex-premier and his wife, Bushra Bibi, obtained billions of rupees and land worth hundreds of kanals from Bahria Town Ltd for legalising Rs50 billion that was identified and returned to the country by the UK during the previous PTI government. Imran was initially arrested in the case earlier this year from the premises of the Islamabad High Court but was later released after the Supreme Court declared the arrest unlawful. On Nov 14, the PTI chief, who is already imprisoned in Adiala Jail in the cipher case, was again arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the Al-Qadir Trust case. He was then handed over to the watchdog on physical remand. During the hearing, Imran’s wife and legal team appeared before the court. A five-member NAB team was also present on the occasion. The officials from the accountability watchdog requested an extension for the former premier’s physical remand. However, the court rejected the plea and placed the PTI chief on judicial remand. Later speaking to media, Imran’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa said he had long contended that physical remand was unnecessary in this case. He accused NAB of being an institution engaged in “political engineering and political vendetta,” alleging that the government frequently manipulated it for its own gains. Quoting Imran, Khosa stated, “The chairman says they [investigators] question him for 10 minutes and then indulge in chit-chatting for three to four hours.” Khosa emphasised Imran’s stance that the country would not progress if a “minus one or two” strategy was used to suppress opponents. Imran is also accused of misleading the cabinet by concealing the facts related to the settlement agreement. Money was received under the settlement agreement (140m pounds) and was supposed to be deposited in the national exchequer. But it was adjusted in the recovery of Rs450bn liabilities of Bahria Town Karachi (BTK). The NAB’s notice served on the accused said that the anti-graft watchdog took cognisance of the commission of offences of corruption and corrupt practices as defined under the NAB laws. It said the NCA had on Dec 14, 2018 frozen approximately 20m pounds from the bank accounts of two Pakistani nationals – Ahmad Ali Riaz and his wife Mubashra. On Aug 12, 2019, the NCA further froze 119.7m pounds lying in the bank accounts of Malik Riaz’s family and also one Hyde Park Place property, the notice added. The NAB’s record revealed that instead of repatriation of funds to the state, the money was “dishonestly” and “maliciously” adjusted against liability of BTK by transferring the same to the designated account which was maintained by the Supreme Court registrar for depositing the liability of BTK. It is pertinent to mention that the Supreme Court on Nov 23 ordered that an amount of Rs35 billion, which was remitted to the apex court’s bank accounts maintained in the name of the SC registrar, in the Bahria Town settlement, be transferred to the federal government.