Eight acquitted in Khanani and Kalia case

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KARACHI – A special banking court on Friday acquitted eight accused in the Khanani and Kalia money laundering case, after the prosecution failed to prove its case against them. The special court’s judge, Mir Muhammad Sheikh exonerated four suspects of the Khanani and Kalia group and four bank officers. The court passed the verdict after examining the evidence and recording final arguments from both sides.
The accused, Hanif Kalia, Abdul Munaf Kalia, Javed Khanani and Aatif Polani and four officers of various banks of Karachi, Masood Abbas, Wajaht Ali, Arif Rehman and Tasleem Ahmed, were accused of transferring more than Rs 100 billion abroad. The Federal Investigation Agency had registered a case against the accused on November 15, 2008 after initiating an inquiry on a complaint lodged by the State Bank of Pakistan regarding illegal transfer of money abroad.
According to the prosecution, the foreign exchange firm – Khanani and Kalia – had fraudulently created a website, Exchange Plus and Foxpro with the criminal intent and without declaring it to the SBP and used them for illegal transactions.
It added that the company had also installed a computer system at its head office situated at Saima Trade Tower on II Chundrigar Road that enabled the firm’s franchise offices set up across the country to automatically access the main system in order to facilitate such transactions and opened hundred of thousands accounts in different banks across the country.
The prosecution further said the accused, in connivance with other directors and partners of foreign exchange companies and moneychangers, had used the services of Al-Zarooni Exchange in the UAE – with Atif Aziz Polani and Jawed Qasim as the focal persons – to assist such dealings while the services of a number of exchange firms and agents in foreign countries were also utilised that caused a loss of billions of rupees to the national exchanger.
A case was registered against them under sections 5/8, 22/23 of the Foreign Exchange Regulation Act, 1947 read with Section 7, 8 & 20 of the Prevention of Electronic Crimes Ordinance (PECO), 2007 and Sections 420, 467, 471, 477-A of the Pakistan Penal Code at the FIA crime circle, Karachi.