FIA granted 5-day physical remand of Shahid Masood in corruption case

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ISLAMABAD: The Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) was granted five-day physical remand of Dr Shahid Masood in a PTV corruption case by a lower court in Islamabad on Saturday.

Shahid Masood, who is accused of being involved in the embezzlement of millions from state-run broadcaster Pakistan Television, was arrested by the FIA on Friday from the court premises after Islamabad High Court (IHC) judge Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani dismissed his pre-arrest bail.

Last month, Masood had dodged the FIA as he escaped well before the special judge dismissed his pre-arrest bail plea.

During the hearing, Masood’s lawyer Shah Khawar opposed a long remand of his client.”24-hour remand is enough, more than that should not be given,” he said.

Civil judge Amir Aziz asked the FIA if the agency had conducted an inquiry, to which an FIA official responded: “The accused did not surrender himself, a lot remains [to be investigated] right now”.

The senior civil judge asked if this was the first time remand for Masood had been requested; the FIA official replied in the affirmative.

The judge rejected the FIA’s request for 10-day remand; however, he granted the agency five-day remand of Masood and directed them to conduct his medical check-up.

According to the FIA, Dr Masood — during his tenure as managing director and chairman of PTV — was involved in the embezzlement of Rs37 million in acquiring Pakistan Cricket Board (PCB) media rights in 2008. Allegedly, the agreement was carried out with a fake company — M/s International Sports Solution (ISS). The investigators claim that funds were also released, causing the loss of millions of dollars to PTV as the state-run television channel failed to acquire PCB media rights from 2008 to 2013.

Earlier, during the hearing on Friday, Masood’s counsel Shah Khawar argued that the anchor had not been nominated in the first information report lodged for the case. Meanwhile PTV’s lawyer, Mohammad Nazeer Jawad, told the court that Kashif Rabbani was also a suspect in the case, however, he had returned more than Rs10m after his bail was denied.

Roshan Mustafa Gillani, another suspect, also returned Rs8m. Both Rabbani and Gillani had said that the remaining amount was to be returned by Masood, the PTV lawyer told the court.

After hearing arguments from both sides, the judge dismissed the anchor’s appeal for a pre-arrest bail.

According to the prosecution, Dr Masood had signed an agreement with a fake company to negotiate with the Pakistan Cricket Board for grant of rights to the PTV for coverage of cricket matches played in Pakistan. Because of the agreement, the PTV had to face heavy losses.