Shehbaz Sharif and 10 others were acquitted in the Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference by a Lahore accountability court on Saturday.
Incumbent federal minister Ahad Cheema and Fawad Hassan Fawad are among the accused who have been declared innocent by the court.
Judge Malik Ali Zulqarnain Awan of the accountability court reserved the verdict on November 2, after concluding the final arguments presented by the counsels and the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) prosecutors on acquittal pleas.
The acquittal applications argued that all prosecution witnesses and the approvers had withdrawn their statements, indicating no possibility of conviction in the reference. The applicants urged the court to approve the applications and clear them of the charges.
In 2018, NAB filed (18/50) an Ashiana-i-Iqbal Housing Scheme reference worth Rs 660 million.
NAB in the filled reference alleged that the Pakistan Muslim League-Nawaz (PML-N) president and other accused had caused a massive financial loss to the national kitty by awarding the contract to a construction firm without a competitive bidding process.
On the other hand, Kamran Kiyani, the brother of former army chief Ashfaque Parvez Kiyani, and Nadeem Zia of Paragon City were acquitted by the court due to a “lack of evidence”.
The NAB in the filled reference alleged that Cheema received illegal benefits from the owners of Paragon City Developers as a reward for awarding the housing scheme contract to their proxy firm, Bismillah Engineering.