NAB team raids at Dar’s office, takes tax record into custody

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ISLAMABAD: Following indictment of Finance Minister Ishaq Dar on graft charges, a team of NAB raided his office here on Thursday and took his tax record in its custody. The record  was related to Ishaq Dar’s tax details from 1981 to 2006.

Earlier, an accountability court in Islamabad on Wednesday indicted Finance Minister Ishaq Dar in a corruption reference filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).

The reference was filed against Dar for possessing assets beyond his known sources of income. The minister pleaded not guilty to all charges read out by Accountability Judge Mohammad Bashir, terming them baseless. Following the indictment, NAB presented before the court a list of witnesses against the accused.

Appearing before the Accountability Court Islamabad, the minister however pleaded not guilty and vowed to prove his innocence.

Judge Mohammad Bashir, who read out the charges, also rejected Dar’s application for exemption from personal appearance in the court, directing him to be part of the next hearing on October 4.

The court proceedings started late due to security mismanagement at the main entrance of the courts complex, forcing the NAB courts registrar to allow the accused entry through the gate reserved for judges.

During the hearing defence counsel Amjad Pervez furnished Rs5 million surety bonds, required for the bail of the minister as he had earlier been issued bailable arrest warrants over non-appearance.

The judge read out charge-sheet accusing the finance minister of having assets beyond his known sources of income and an abnormal surge in his assets in a short span of time.

Denying the charges, the minister said: “I committed no crime. Charges levelled against me [in NAB reference] are baseless. I shall defend these charges and prove my innocence,” he said.

“My assets are quite within the income limits and I shall prove it,” he added.

The NAB prosecution presented evidence and a list of 16 witnesses against the accused. The hearing was subsequently adjourned until October 4 with the direction to the prosecution to present at least two witnesses before the court on next hearing.

Dar did not speak to the media after the court appearance.