The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore has apprehended Muhammad Khan Bhatti, who served as the principal secretary to former Punjab chief minister Parvez Elahi. Bhatti was taken into custody from jail as part of a corruption investigation involving approximately Rs1 billion.
This development follows the recent arrest of Parvez Elahi, who was detained by Islamabad police, against court orders, while he was en route to Zahoor Elahi Road with a heavy contingent of Lahore police.
A NAB team, with the court’s authorization, visited Central Jail, Gujranwala, to question Bhatti. They served him arrest warrants issued by the NAB director general.
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It is alleged that Bhatti, in collusion with Elahi and other accused individuals, used his influence and position to appoint their confidant, Mahr Azmat Hayat, as XEN of the Punjab Highways Department Gujrat Division and subsequently promoted him to the position of Superintending Engineer in Gujrat Circle.
Reportedly, Elahi, along with Bhatti and other accused persons, approved 116 road development schemes under supplementary grants, bypassing regulations, with the intention of receiving bribes or kickbacks.
The accused individuals, including Elahi, Moonis Elahi, and Bhatti, awarded contracts for road development projects to contractors of their choosing through Hayat. Payments were allegedly issued to these contractors without actual work being completed at the sites, all in an effort to collect bribes or kickbacks.
These illicit funds were allegedly collected by Elahi, Moonis, and Bhatti through intermediaries like Hayat and Sohail Asghar Awan, who served as Moonis’s personal secretary. NAB has taken Bhatti into custody from jail, and he will be presented before an accountability court in Lahore for further legal proceedings.