IHC approves protective bail of Zardari, Talpur till April 10 in Money laundering case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: Islamabad High Court (IHC) has approved protective bail of Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in money laundering case till April 10, on Thursday.

According to reports, two-member bench of IHC conducted hearing on the matter during which, Zardari and his sister were present.

Yesterday on Wednesday, Zardari had filed a pre-arrest bail plea, stating that he has received three summonses by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the case so far, and he was not aware of the number inquiries being carried out against him.

While expressing apprehension that he might be arrested by the bureau, he had pleaded with the court to grant him pre-arrest bail until the trial is completed by stating that there was ‘no other option’ available for avoiding the arrest.

Furthermore, he had made NAB Chairman Justice (rtd) Javed Iqbal and investigation officer respondents in the application.

Money laundering case against Zardari

On December 24, the Joint Investigation Team (JIT), formed on the apex court’s orders to probe into the alleged money-laundering case, presented its 128-page final report to the court which included recommendations for filing 16 NAB references.

The report had mentioned that 29 fake accounts were identified by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) which laundered Rs42 billion, however, the team further discovered 11,500 bank accounts of 924 account holders, 59 Suspicious Transaction Reports (STRs) and 24,500 Cash Transactions Reports (CTRs).

All of these details were scrutinized, besides the loan profile of 924 individuals.

The report further stated that the fake accounts were opened through the Omni Group, however the accounts had been engaged with direct transactions with the Zardari Group, Bahria Town, Sindh Government departments and certain contractors while the ultimate beneficiary of money laundering was Zardari’s family.

Later, the court had ordered Zardari to submit his reply by December 31, however, during the previous hearing extended his and his sister s interim bail till January 7.

On September 6, the SC had formed a JIT to probe into alleged mega money laundering of Rs42 billion channeled through fake bank accounts in three banks.

Besides the Zardari family, several prominent individuals including former Summit Bank president Hussain Lawai and Omni Group president Anwar Majeed, have been accused in the case.

Property tycoon Malik Riaz, his son-in-law Zain, Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari have been also included in the inquiry.