The Sindh High Court on Wednesday granted bail to PPP leader and former federal minister Dr Asim Hussain in two corruption references filed against him by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on the submission of surety bonds worth Rs5 million.
Justice Aftab Ahmed Gorar, a referee judge in the case, approved the bail on ‘medical grounds’.
Sindh High Court Chief Justice Syed Sajjad Ali Shah had appointed Justice Gorar as the referee judge after a divisional bench of the Sindh High Court was unable to reach a consensus regarding the bail application.
NAB has been pursuing Dr Hussain on charges that the former petroleum minister deprived the state exchequer of Rs462.5bn between 2010 and 2013 — Rs450bn through a fertiliser scam, Rs9.5bn through land fraud and Rs3bn through money laundering.
Dr Hussain, a close aide of former president Asif Ali Zardari, was arrested in August 2015 by Rangers. After three months in preventive detention, the paramilitary force handed him over to police in a case pertaining to sheltering and treating alleged terrorists at his hospitals.
NAB was handed his custody in December 2015 to initiate a graft investigation.
NAB opened multiple inquiries against the former petroleum minister alleging misuse of authority in fraudulent allotment of plots and encroachment of state land for the Dr Ziauddin Hospital/Trust; illegal gains; receiving kickbacks and commissions from a fertiliser cartel for illegal curtailment of gas for exploitative price hikes and black marketing from 2010 to 2012; defrauding the public in the name of running a charity hospital; and laundering money.