LHC told: Elahi family non-cooperative in case

LAHORE (Agencies): Opposing former Chief Minister Punjab Pervaiz Elahi’s plea for quashing FIR in money laundering case on Monday Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) apprised Lahore High Court that Elahi’s family was not cooperating with the Agency’s investigation in the matter relating to funds deposited in the bank account of Punjab Assembly employee.
The agency disclosed while submitting a report before the Lahore High Court (LHC) in response to plea of Pervaiz Elahi’s son Rasikh Elahi and his wife Zahra Elahi and Moonis Elahi’s wife Tahreem Elahi urging the court to quash FIR in the matter.
It has been revealed in the report that on January 24, the Anti-Corruption Establishment (ACE) Punjab registered a criminal case against PA employee Qaisar Iqbal Bhatti and sent a referral letter, along with copy of the FIR and connected material, to the office of the answering respondent to initiate an investigation into money laundering under the relevant provisions of Anti Money Laundry Act (AMLA) 2010.
This office was communicated by the ACE Punjab that Bhatti was a low-wage employee of the PA (naib qasid – peon) who has been involved in corrupt practices and accumulated assets beyond his known source of income.
The ACE Punjab further reported that the PA employee used his bank accounts to route the money for the purpose of laundering it. The agency provided details of inexplicable banking transactions made from the accused’s account to different individuals, including the petitioners – Rs83 million to Rasikh, Rs27 million to Tahreem and five million rupees to Zahra.
According to sources, the FIA registered FIR against the petitioners following the referral being sent to them by the ACE. The accused petitioners are on ad-interim bails in this case. The report further revealed that another FIA inquiry regarding suspicious transactions was also under investigation against the accused on the report of the Financial Monitoring Unit (FMU).
Later, it transpired that Bhatti had been involved in inexplicable transactions of Rs175 million. The record of the banks further revealed that Bhatti had a turnover of Rs811 million and €4,000 in his bank accounts that showed transactions with the petitioners.
The petitioners were served self-explanatory call up notices on the basis of these transactions, requiring them to appear before the inquiry officer along with requisite record. However, the FIA informed the court that the petitioners failed to appear before the inquiry officer despite being issued two call up notices. The reply submitted was incomplete, whereas there was no explanation for the queries presented to them through written notices.
In an incomplete reply presented to the inquiry officer, the petitioners gave different versions. One of the petitioners admitted receiving the aforesaid amount in their bank accounts and took the plea that the said amount was received as consideration for the shares they held in M/s Argo Tractor Pvt Ltd. However, this stance was belied by the fact that the said company had been defunct since 2014 while the petitioner received the amount in 2020. They failed to answer the legitimate source of transaction -the PA employee has no relationship with them or their family.
Moreover, another petitioner claimed that the said transactions were against the purchase of land which could not mature. However, no proof was presented for this claim. Subsequently, the FIA requested the court to dismiss the petitioner’s plea.