An accountability court in Islamabad indicted former prime minister Raja Pervez Ashraf and six others in the rental power case on Friday.
Accountability court judge Muhammad Bashir, heard the rental power reference against 10 accused including Raja Pervez Ashraf.
All accused, including the former federal mister for water and power, refused to plead guilty whereas the bench hearing the case sought all relevant evidence from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the next hearing of the case which was adjourned until February 4.
Talking to media persons, after the hearing, the former prime minister belonging to the Pakistan People's Party (PPP) said that he could not comment on the issue as it was sub-judice.
He further said that the character assassination campaign being run on the media was regrettable.
Mr Ashraf is accused of misusing his authority during his tenure as the minister for water and power to obtain approval from the Economic Coordination Committee (ECC) and the cabinet for an increase in the down payment to the rental power companies from 7 per cent to 14 per cent, amounting to about Rs22 billion.
He authorised on April 13, 2009, the submission of a summary to the ECC which allegedly contained misleading facts, stating that the terms and conditions of the bidding envisaging 7 per cent advance could not be met and should be raised to 14 per cent.
Ex-PM Ashraf, who denied the charges, was specifically charged in connection with alleged corruption in Neudero Power Project.
The court has now summoned evidences from the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) on February 4, 2014.
Later talking to media, counsel for the former Prime Minister Farooq H Naek said it was proved that Ashraf was not involved in any corruption, adding that his client would soon be acquitted.
Earlier during the last hearing, Raja Pervez could not be indicted after his counsel apprised the court about a plea sub-judice at Lahore High Court (LHC).
National Accountability Bureau (NAB) formally nominated Raja Pervez Ashraf in the Rs 22 billion rental power projects (RPPs) case in November. NAB had filed a 263-page reference against Raja Pervez Ashraf in the case.
Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) politician Raja Pervez Ashraf served as prime minister between June 2012 and March 2013. He is accused of receiving kickbacks and commissions from nine rental power project firms for awarding contracts for setting up their projects in 2008 to overcome electricity crisis in the country when he was water and power Minister.
NAB has been investigating 12 RPPs cases in which nine firms reportedly received more than Rs22 billion as mobilization advance from the government to commission the projects, but most of them were accused of failing to set up plants. The bureau has already recovered Rs13 billion in the case.