IHC extends bail of Zardari, Talpur till tomorrow in fake accounts case

F.P. Report

ISLAMABAD: The Islamabad High Court (IHC) has extended pre-arrest bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur in fake bank accounts case till tomorrow (May 30), on Wednesday.

According to reports, a two-member bench of IHC, comprising of Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kiyani and Justice Aamir Farooq, heard the PPP leader’s plea.

Earlier today, Mr Zardari excused himself from appearing before a Combined Investigation Team (CIT) of the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi in a case pertaining to an illegal award of contract for a solar power project that allegedly caused Rs10 billion loss to the national exchequer.

Reportedly, he requested the NAB, through his lawyer Farooq H Naek, to reschedule his appearance after Eid-ul-Fitr with a reason that he has to appear before the Islamabad High Court (IHC) at the same time for a pre-arrest bail appeal.

PPP Chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari and Mr Zardari were scheduled for recording their statements in Park Lane Company and fake bank accounts investigations, respectively.

On May 23, Mr Zardari had excused himself from appearing before the NAB Rawalpindi on the pretext of busy schedule in the ongoing investigation into the fake bank accounts case. The former president had written a letter to the NAB, stating that he could not appear today due to busy schedule, and asked it to manage another date for him.

On May 15, the Islamabad High Court (IHC) had granted him and his sibling Faryal Talpur bail in all of the cases against them. The high court had granted Mr Zardari interim bail in the money laundering through fake bank accounts case until May 29 (today).

Earlier on May 9, the NAB had summoned him to record his statement in the fake accounts case; however he had excused himself from appearing before the CIT, and sought another date on the grounds that he was scheduled to appear before an accountability court in Islamabad on the same day.

The NAB has already filed references in money laundering through fake bank accounts, Pink Residency and illegal award of water supply schemes against him.

On April 13, Zardari had submitted his written response to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) Rawalpindi on 54 questions in connection with three cases against him, including Park Lane Estate, Pink Residency, and fake accounts and money laundering.

The Federal Investigation Agency had named Zardari, Talpur, Omni Group chairman Anwar Majeed, his sons and other suspects in a charge sheet filed in the banking court in August 2018 for alleged money laundering of billions of rupees through fake bank accounts in three banks – Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Ltd.

NAB is conducting investigations in pursuance of the Supreme Court’s verdict in the money laundering of billions through fake accounts case wherein it forwarded the joint investigation team (JIT) report with directions to investigate and file references.

Earlier, the case was being heard in a banking court in Karachi but had been shifted to an accountability court in Islamabad upon an appeal by the National Accountability Bureau (NAB).