ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Thursday approved the interim pre-arrest bail petitions of former president and Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) Co-Chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur and granted them bail till April 10 in the mega money laundering case.
An IHC division bench heard the petitions of the former president and his sister and approved their pre-arrest bail. The bench ordered Zardari to submit bail bonds worth Rs1 million each on four of his petitions and accepted his request to submit the total of Rs4 million in the form of cash.
Meanwhile, Talpur was directed to submit bail bonds worth Rs1 million.
Zardari and Talpur had approached the IHC seeking pre-arrest bail to avoid arrest in the fake bank accounts and money laundering case.
In the identical petitions filed through their counsels, the former president and his sister claimed that certain authorities were dragging the two into the controversy to defame them.
Regarding the case, the petitions stated that “the instant matter arises out of inquiries initiated by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) regarding fake accounts connected with various individuals and entities”.
The petitions alleged that the FIA, instead of investigating the matter itself, had stated before the Supreme Court that there was slow progress in the matter and that the probe was being obstructed.
The PPP leader’s counsel also claimed that Zardari had received three summons from NAB so far but still was not aware of the actual number of inquiries against him and asked the court to direct the bureau to provide the details of all inquiries against him.
Earlier this month, a banking court in Karachi had ordered the transfer of the fake bank accounts and mega money laundering case to Islamabad.
Meanwhile, the first five suspects in the fake accounts case ─ identified as Aftab Memon, Najam Zaman, Shabbir Bombaat, Hassan Memon and Jabbar Memon ─ were sent to Adiala Jail on judicial remand after an accountability court rejected NAB’s plea for an extension in their physical remand.
NAB Rawalpindi had earlier been granted 14-day physical remand of the suspects. Accountability Court Judge Mohammad Bashir declined the NAB prosecution’s request for an extension in the remand, and sent them to jail on judicial remand.
The FIA is investigating 32 people in relation to money laundering from fictitious accounts, including Zardari and Talpur. Zardari’s close aide Hussain Lawai was arrested in July last year in connection with the probe.
The former president’s other close aide and Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed a close aide and Omni Group chairman and his son, Abdul Ghani, were arrested by FIA in August 2018.
Over 20 benami accounts at some private banks were opened in 2013, 2014 and 2015 from where transactions worth billions of rupees were made, according to sources.
The amount, according to FIA sources, is said to be black money gathered from various kickbacks, commissions and bribes.