LAHORE: A Pakistani court has granted pre-arrest bail to a suspect while rejecting bail pleas of five others in the country's biggest child sex abuse scandal involving 280 children in Punjab province.
A Lahore High Court division bench headed by Justice Muhammad Anwarul Haq yesterday allowed interim bail to suspect Tanzeelur Rehman till August 31. However it rejected bail pleas of the five other suspects.
Following the surfacing of the scandal early last month, police had arrested 16 suspects under sodomy and extortion charges in Ganda Singh village bordering India in Kasur district of Punjab province, 50 kilometres from here.
Rehman is an employee of the high court. However, the chief justice had suspended him from service after he was nominated in the case.
He told the court that police had falsely implicated him in the case as they failed to produce any evidence against him.
Two prime suspects – Aamir and Yahya – have also been arrested. They and 14 others are on physical remand for about a month.
On the order of the court the police have included sections of anti-terrorism act in the FIRs.
Meanwhile, police have registered seven more FIRs in the case taking the total number to 22. The number of complainants are also rising every day.
However, a group of complainants boycotted the joint investigation team probing the matter, demanding withdrawal of fake cases registered against their relatives.
Using the loudspeakers they made announcements urging the villagers to be prepared for a long march to Islamabad if the police did not withdraw fake cases. Senior police officials assured them of looking into the matter.
Over 20 accused have been booked in the scandal involving the sexual abuse of at least 280 children.
The abuse had reportedly been going on for a decade or so as the accused had filmed the victims and blackmailed them.
The Punjab government had removed the Punjab spy agency special branch chief, the District Police Officer of Kasur district, two deputy superintendents of police and an SHO, Kasur in connection with the scandal.
Punjab Chief Minister Shahbaz Sharif said he is personally monitoring progress of the investigation.
"The joint investigation team will investigate right at the site so that everyone has access to it at doorstep. I want to reiterate that we will not let anyone involved in this incident escape the law and justice," he said.