KARACHI, Sept 17: The State Bank of Pakistan on Monday directed all banks in the country to freeze all accounts of the owners of the fire-wrecked garment factory after a judicial magistrate granted a request of police to prevent the owners from transferring money to any other country.

In a related development, two of the factory owners submitted their passports and the third owner whose passport was with the Britishi High Commission filed the original receipt issued by the HC and the passport number to the Nazir of the Sindh High Court on Monday.

More than 250 workers were killed in the devastating fire that destroyed the factory of readymade garments, situated within the remit of the SITE-B police station in Baldia Town, on Sept 11.

In the application moved in the court of Judicial Magistrate (west) Sohail Ahmed Mashori, investigation officer Chaudhry Zafar Iqbal stated that the factory owners were on a protective bail in the factory fire case and had millions of rupees in their four bank accounts. Expressing apprehensions about their possible escape and transfer of money to any other account in any part of the world, the officer requested the court to issue a directive to the relevant authorities to freeze the bank accounts.

The judicial magistrate allowed the plea and directed the State Bank to freeze the accounts of the suspects.

While allowing another application of the investigation officer to record the statements of three prosecution witnesses under Section 164 of the criminal procedure code, the court fixed Tuesday to record the testimonies while directing the suspects to ensure their presence.

On Sept 14, a single bench of the Larkana circuit of the Sindh High Court had granted a seven-day protective bail to the owners of the factory — Abdul Aziz Bhaila, and his two sons, Arshad Bhaila and Shahid Bhaila.

A case (FIR No 343/2012) was registered against the factory owners and others under Sections 302 (punishment for premeditated murder), 322 (punishment for qatl-bis-sabab), 435 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to cause damage etc), 436 (mischief by fire or explosive substance with intent to destroy house, etc.), 337 (Shajjah) and 34 (common intention) of the Pakistan Penal Code at the SITE-B police station.

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