KARACHI: A judicial magistrate (South) on Thursday granted three-day time to the investigating officer to submit investigation report against the detained former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai and co-accused Taha Raza in a case pertaining to alleged money laundering.

Mr Lawai and Mr Raza have been booked for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, through which suspicious transactions were made to different companies including M/s Zardari Group.

On Thursday, the prison authorities informed the JM (South) Shahrukh Shahnawaz that the detained bankers could not be produced in the court as their movement from the prison was risky from point of view of security. Therefore, they requested to condone appearance of the undertrial prisoners in court.

Meanwhile, the IO, Inspector Mohammad Ali Abro, who was required to submit investigation report of the detained suspects in the case, informed the court that the investigation was still under way and requested for more time of three days to enable him to file the report.

The judicial magistrate granted the IO more time to submit the investigation report as required under Section 173 of the Criminal Procedure Code (CrPC) and adjourned hearing till July 21.

Better facilities in jail

In the meantime, Additional District and Sessions Judge (South) Rajesh Chander Rajput reserved his verdict on applications seeking provision of better facilities to Mr Lawai and Mr Raza in prison.

Advocate Haider Imam Rizvi moved applications on behalf of the detained bankers under Rule 248 of the Pakistan Prisons Rules, arguing that his clients were highly educated and had distinguished careers.

He mentioned that Mr Lawai, a 78-year-old banker, had served as president of the Summit Bank from 2008-2016, while Mr Raza, the head of the Unit Corporate Department at the same bank, was also a highly qualified chartered accountant.

He requested the court to direct the prison authorities that B-class facilities be provided to the detained bankers in prison.

ADJ (South) Rajput, who is the link judge for the special court for offences in banks, who was on leave till July 23, reserved his order after hearing arguments from both sides. The banking court is also set to hear bail applications of Hussain Lawai and Taha Raza on July 23.

Three co-accused obtain pre-arrest bail

The same court also granted interim pre-arrest bail to three officers of Summit Bank in the same case. It directed them to furnish a surety bond of Rs500,000 each.

The three officers, who had earlier obtained protective bail from the Sindh High Court, moved applications to seek pre-arrest bail.

They included Christopher D’Cruz, manager (operations) at the Summit Bank’s Khayaban-i-Sehar Branch, DHA; Mohammad Raheel Mobin, the branch manager at the Clifton branch; and Mohammad Nasir Sheikh, manager (operations) at the I.I. Chundrigar Road branch.

Published in Dawn, July 20th, 2018

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