NAB arrests former excise official in liquor licence case also involving CM Buzdar

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LAHORE: Former director general Excise & Taxation Department, Akram Ashraf Gondal, will be presented before an accountability court today (Friday) a day after he was arrested by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Lahore over his alleged involvement in granting a liquor licence to a private hotel, reported The News. “It has been disclosed during the inquiry proceedings that the accused (Akram Gondal) technically manoeuvred the whole process to grant L-2 category liquor licence to the said hotel without its eligibility,” said NAB in a statement. Gondal’s arrest is part of an inquiry being done against the former bureaucrat, former principal secretary to Punjab CM Raheel Siddiqui, CM Buzdar and others for allegedly awarding an illegal liquor licence. The anti-corruption watchdog arrested Gondal on claims of corruption and corrupt practices by misusing authority and playing a “pivotal role” in the release of the alleged illegal liquor licence to a private hotel in the provincial capital. NAB Lahore said the officer misused his authority and illegally granted L-2 category licence to a private hotel. It said the hotel couldn’t get a licence as it had not fulfilled the prerequisite obtained 4/5 star rating certificate from Punjab’s of Tourist Services Department. The bureau has also claimed that the former DG also did not follow the other necessary procedures and codal formalities in the case. It added that they had arrested the former DG on “sufficient evidence”. On August 18, CM Buzdar in his reply to NAB had stated that the liquor licence allegation was baseless.

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