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Faryal Talpur fails to appear before FIA-appointed JIT, requests another date

Updated July 28, 2018

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Faryal Talpur leaves trial court along with her lawyers. — Acreengrab
Faryal Talpur leaves trial court along with her lawyers. — Acreengrab

Pakistan People's Party (PPP) leader Faryal Talpur on Saturday requested a joint investigation team (JIT) formed by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) to grant her more time to appear before them, DawnNewsTV reported.

The investigation team had ordered Talpur to appear at 11am today in connection with a money laundering case. However, in an application submitted by her attorney, she sought more time on account of her "being busy" with a banking court, where she went today to submit Rs2 million in surety bonds to secure an interim pre-arrest bail.

Talpur, who won the July 25 general election from Sindh Assembly constituency PS-10 (Larkana-I), is named in a corruption case relating to fake accounts and fictitious transactions worth Rs35 billion, along with her brother, former president Asif Ali Zardari. Last week, both of them were declared absconders by the FIA along with 18 others.

After the challan was issued, Talpur requested a division bench of the Sindh High Court in Larkana to grant her protective bail in the case. The high court accepted her plea and granted a six-day bail on July 23 that will expire today.

On Friday, her counsel had said that the PPP leader wanted to join trial proceedings, but feared that if she would do so, the FIA would arrest her. Therefore, the court was requested to grant a pre-arrest bail in order to enable the applicant to surrender and join the trial proceedings.

Money laundering scam

The corruption case, in which Talpur is named, was initially registered against former Pakistan Stock Exchange chairman Hussain Lawai, who is widely believed to be close to former president Asif Ali Zardari, and other bankers in connection with an ongoing probe into a massive money laundering scam.

Lawai and other bankers were accused of facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in Summit Bank, Sindh Bank and United Bank Limited, where ‘beneficiaries of the Sindh government’ had deposited Rs35 billion that was subsequently transferred to different accounts. Lawai, along with three other bankers, was arrested by the FIA earlier this month.

In the case's interim charge sheet dated July 21, 2018, Zardari and Talpur's names appeared in the list of absconding accused persons along with their addresses.

Additionally, Zardari's close aide Anwar Majeed and his son were also named in the list of absconders which contains the names of 20 individuals.