ISLAMABAD : An accountability court on Tuesday acquitted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf, former finance minister Shaukat Tareen and other accused in the Piraghaib Rental Power reference. Judge Muhammad Bashir announced his verdict on applications of the former premier and others seeking acquittal in the case filed by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in 2014. Other accused whose acquittal pleas were approved included Shaukat Tareen, Ismail Qureshi, Shahid Rafi, Tahir Basharat Cheema, Muhammad Saleem Arif, Chaudhry Abdul Qadreer, and Iqbal Ali Shah. The National Accountability Bureau (NAB) had filed the Piraghaib Rental Power reference in 2014, accusing Raja Pervez Ashraf of misusing his powers in his capacity as water and power minister to gain financial benefits in the project. Last week, the court had acquitted the former prime minister, Tareen as well as all eight other accused nominated in the Sahiwal Rental Power Reference. There had been no loss inflicted on the national exchequer, therefore a reference could not be made against the accused, the judge remarked, announcing the verdict. The verdict came on an acquittal plea submitted by the PPP leader and all the other accused in the case. The former premier had argued in the application that NAB has no evidence to back up charges of any financial benefits or kickbacks for these Rental Power Projects (RPPs), adding that the procedural loopholes could not be deemed corruption and corrupt practice.
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