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Gilani's ex-media coordinator Rasool Butt gets 3 yrs jail term over absence from court proceedings

Islamabad, Fri, 27 Jan 2012 ANI

Islamabad, Jan 27 (ANI): Pakistan Prime Minister Yousaf Raza Gilani's former media coordinator Khurram Rasool Butt has reportedly surrendered to the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) after he was sentenced to three years imprisonment by three different courts in the country.


On Thursday, an Accountability court in Rawalpindi sentenced Rasool to three years in jail for being absent from court proceedings in a corruption reference filed in 2009 after he defaulted on a bank loan, The News reports.


Khurram said that he and his family have been receiving death threats, and therefore he went missing.


He further claimed that he was forced to sign cheques.


Earlier, Accountability Court-III Judge Jahandar Khan Banth handed down the verdict under Section 31-A of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Ordinance. The trial judge while also deciding the fate of four other accused, who are all employees of a private bank, handed four-year jail terms to each of the accused.


The men are accused in a scam in which Rasool obtained a loan of 70 million rupees from the bank, using fake documents and later defaulted on the loan.


The four men-Aamir Mumtaz, Muhammad Tariq, Hasnain Haider and Rehan Sheikh - were also fined 400,000 rupees each.


On January 26, 2011, the court cancelled Rasool's bail bonds over his continuous absence in the case. Rasool, who had reportedly gone abroad, then approached the Islamabad High Court which, on February 2, 2011, dismissed his plea for protective bail and directed him to approach the trial court. After Rasool failed to approach the trial court, on April 28, 2011, it declared Rasool a proclaimed offender for his absence from proceedings.


Meanwhile, a special court for banking offences granted interim bail to Rasool, hours after a division bench of the Lahore High Court (LHC) denied him protective bail. On Thursday, the banking court judge Muhammad Amjad Pervaiz granted interim pre-arrest bail to Rasool till February 2 subject to furnishing of bail bonds worth Rs1 million. The judge also summoned case record from the FIA on the next hearing.


Earlier, a division bench of the LHC headed by Justice Sheikh Najamul Hassan dismissed Rasool's petition for protective bail while hearing the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) quota fraud case because of his absence from the court proceedings. (ANI)


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