LAHORE: The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on Tuesday arrested Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) leader Khawaja Saad Rafique and his brother Salman Rafique in Paragon Housing Society scam. The PML-N leader and his brother were arrested after the Lahore High Court (LHC) rejected their request for an extension in their pre-arrest bail in the case, a National Accountability Bureau (NAB) spokesperson said.As the hearing went underway, the NAB prosecutor said that the Khawaja brothers’ request for bail should be rejected by the court. He claimed that the two were “certainly” linked to the Paragon Housing Society. He said that Rafique’s wife had partnered with Qaisar Amin Butt in the housing scheme, and that the brothers had received money from the housing society.“The Khawaja brothers have admitted that they took millions of rupees as commission,” the prosecutor claimed, adding that Saad’s brother-in-law was also a partner in the society. “If money is earned through illegal means and still mentioned in tax returns, it doesn’t make it legitimate,” he contended.The NAB prosecutor said that in a statement given to NAB, Shahid Butt, another one of the accused, had alleged that Saad used to attend every meeting and issue people allotment letters. He stated that the inquiry against the two brothers was initiated during the PML-N government.The counsel for Khawaja brothers said that from the total profit of the Executive Builders, only six percent was taken by their clients,” adding that “they had declared whatever they had earned. The NAB prosecutor accused the brothers of “allotting one house to as many as three different persons” – to which Saad took exception and rejected the allegation.Advocate Azam Nazir Tarar, another of the brothers’ counsels, told the court that their clients had not skipped even one of the hearings.However, the court rejected their petition following which the NAB took them into custody and transferred them to its lock-up.Following their arrests, the NAB Lahore issued a press release, stating: “Accused Saad Rafique along with his benamidaar wife Ghazala Saad Rafique, brother Salman Rafique in association with Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia established a housing project in the name of Air Avenue which was converted into a new housing project namely M/S Paragon City Pvt Limited. Record shows that M/S Paragon City is an illegal society.”It added, “Accused in collusion, connivance and collaboration of Qaiser Amin Butt and Nadeem Zia cheated the members of public at large and obtained illegal pecuniary benefits from the funds of said illegal housing project.”“Accused is operating this illegal housing project through his associates/ co-accused persons who are collecting deposits from general public despite clear directions from LDA that this project is unapproved.”“Accused has been and is continuously obtaining illegal/ illegitimate funds/ benefits from said project as he obtained 40 kanal plots in his own name and the name of his brother Salman Rafique.”The press release continued, “Accused by misusing his official position continued the expansion and marketing of illegal housing project and also obtained undue benefits in the form of sale of numbers of commercial plots worth billions of rupees which were actually not owned by M/S Paragon City. Thus the buyers have been cheated through this action of corruption and corrupt practices.”Also a spokesperson for the NAB said, “The court’s decision confirmed substantive evidence against NAB suspects.”The bureau had summoned the former railways minister and his brother on October 16 in the case related to the Paragon Housing scam. The two brothers had moved the Islamabad High Court to provide protective bail but it had rejected their request and advised them to approach the LHC.The LHC had earlier granted the brothers pre-arrest bail and they had appeared before NAB multiple times for questioning in connection to the case.Last month, the PML-N leader had requested NAB chairman Justice (r) Javed Iqbal to transfer their case to another bureau, saying: “Shahzad was no longer an independent person and could not be trusted to conduct a transparent inquiry.” However, the NAB chief had rejected their petition.Reacting to the arrests, PML-N spokesperson Marriyum Aurangzeb termed it political revenge by the present government. Meanwhile, Punjab Assembly Deputy Speaker Sardar Dost Mazaari turned down a written request of a PML-N delegation, asking him to issue production orders of the member Punjab Assembly. Mazaari said that he had no authority to issue production orders under Punjab Assembly rules.Published in Daily Times, December 12th 2018.