The court adjourned the hearing till February 4.

All the accused, including Ashraf, who was also the Minister for Water and Power, refused to plead guilty, while the bench hearing the case sought all relevant evidence from the National Accountability Bureau in the next hearing of the case, media reported.

Talking to the media, Ashraf, a Pakistan People's Party member, who served as prime minister between June 2012 and March 2013, said he could not comment on the issue as it was sub-judice.  

Ashraf was accused of misusing his authority during his tenure as the Minister for Water and Power to obtain approval from the Economic Coordination Committee and the Cabinet for an increase in down payment to the rental power companies from 7-14 percent, amounting to about Rs 22 billion.

On April 13, 2009, he authorized the submission of documents to the Economic Coordination Committee, which allegedly contained misleading facts, stating that the terms and conditions of the bidding envisaging seven percent advance could not be met and should be raised to 14 percent.

(Agencies)

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