Journalist sent on judicial remand in Bajwa’s tax leak case

Journalist sent on judicial remand in Bajwa’s tax leak case

Judicial magistrate rejects plea of FIA to further grant physical remand of accused journalist in Bajwa’s tax leak case 

By Chronicler


A court of a judicial magistrate in Islamabad has rejected the plea of the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to further grant physical remand of Journalist Shahid Aslam and sent him on judicial remand in General (Retired) Qamar Javed Bajwa’s tax data leak case.

The accused journalist, Shahid Aslam is facing charges to provide facilitation to others in the process of tax data leak of General (Retired) Bajwa after which a website named as Fact Focus had carried a news item in which it had provided details of the alleged extraordinary assets of the retired general.

Two officials of the Federal Board of Revenue (FBR) are already facing the music in the same case and according to the FIA, the journalist in question was arrested after getting clues from the booked officials.

The journalist Shahid Aslam was presented before the court of judicial magistrate, Umar Shabeer Bhatti after completion of two-day remand.

On this occasion the defense counsel of the journalist, Mian Ashfaque Ali, exchanged harsh words with the prosecutor of the FIA. He was of the view that he should not be interrupted when he is giving arguments. The special prosecutor was of the view that he would do it due to professional obligations.

The investigation officer (IO) told the court that during the investigation, the accused has revealed that he has been receiving data from the FBR in the past.  However, he said, the accused hasn’t revealed the names of the personalities whose tax data was collected by him.

Cellular phone and laptop sent to laboratory for forensic: He said digital devices of the accused have been sent to the laboratory for forensic. He said the accused isn’t cooperating to give the password of his cellular phone and the laptop. He said the accused is of the opinion that he would not reveal the password of these devices by any means. “You may take the password (of these devices) on my dead body,” the IO quoted the accused.

Forensic would break password: The IO was of the view that they would be able to discover the passwords of these devices during their forensic.

Mian Ashfaque Ali, the legal counsel of Aslam, said there is no case of FIA against his client. He said the affected party in the case, Abdul Majid Yousafani isn’t a party in the case who is the Member IT, FBR. He said instead of the affected party someone else is taking his place. . Moreover, the FIA hasn’t recorded the affected party statement.

He said the action only on the basis of assumptions would affect journalism. He raised questions as in which year, at what hour of the day his client bribed the officials of the FBR. He said the accused journalist has 15 years of experience covering the FIA. He said the current DG FIA, when he was serving as IG Balochistan had lauded the services of the journalist.  He said the accused journalist is an honest man and he does own even a motorcycle and he doesn’t have enough financial resources.

Accused is being targeted: He said the third party in the case is being targeted. He alleged that the FIA is a dysfunctional institute. He said his client is a journalist, so he may be in contact with employees of the FBR. He said General (Retired) Bajwa never attested that he is a party in the case. He said in a similar case, the tax data of Justice Faiz Esa and his wife was leaked but no one heard that case and the FIA didn’t show any efficiency on that occasion.

He said the allegations which were leveled against General (Retired) Bajwa are basically a matter of national security. He said there is no change of situation which it was two days ago and there is no room for any further physical remand. The special prosecutor stated that the investigators aren’t asking the accused to give details of his sources but rather they are moving ahead as per the law.

Accused sent on judicial remand: After hearing these arguments, the court rejected the plea of the FIA to grant further remand of Shahid Aslam and sent him on judicial remand.


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