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Kazmi granted bail in Hajj scandal case

28 August, 2012

RAWALPINDI: Federal Minister for Religious Affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi returns after his bail from Custom Court, Rawalpindi.
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ISLAMABAD: Special Central Judge Muhammad Ahmad Farooqui of Rawalpindi bench on Monday accepted the bail plea of former federal minister for religious affairs Hamid Saeed Kazmi in Hajj corruption case and directed the authorities for his immediate release.

A first information report had been registered against Kazmi on November 12, 2010, and he was arrested under sections 409/420/467/468/471/109,3,4 of the Pakistan Penal Code (PPC).

On Monday, during the proceeding of the Hajj scandal case, the judicial official found that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) could not produce concrete evidence against Kazmi.

The counsel for Kazmi submitted the bail application, which the judge accepted and ordered his release against two surety bonds of Rs 100,000 each.

The former minister had been imprisoned in Adiala Jail, Rawalpindi, for one year and five months.

Two other accused in the scandal, former additional secretary to the Ministry of Religious Affairs, Raja Aftabul Islam, and former Hajj director general Rao Shakeel were also present during the hearing.

Meanwhile, former director general Hajj Rao Shakeel filed an application, requesting the court to unfreeze his salary account. Upon which the court reserved its judgement until the next hearing.

Kazmi, Shakeel and Islam were accused of corruption during the course of renting residential buildings for Pakistani pilgrims in Saudi Arabia and causing a loss of a billion rupees to the national exchequer.

Most of the buildings rented by the Hajj administrators were five kilometres away from the Haram Sharif, while according to law the accommodation for Hajj pilgrims should not be more than two kilometres away.

The FIA arrested Kazmi on March 15, 2011 in the courtroom, when Special Judge Central (SJC) Sohail Nasir rejected his bail application.

The investigation agency previously revealed that Kazmi was the main accused in the scandal.

On Monday, more than 100 people greeted Kazmi when he was released and questioned the authentication of the cases. Speaking to the media, Kazmi insisted that he was innocent and hoped that justice would be served.

The court adjourned the hearing until August 30, and directed all three accused to appear before court when summoned.

End.

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