KARACHI: A banking court has extended till Dec 21 interim bail of former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur for a fifth time in a case pertaining to alleged laundering of Rs4.14 billion through fake bank accounts.
Former chairman of the Pakistan Stock Exchange Hussain Lawai, Taha Raza, Anvar Majeed and Abdul Ghani Majeed have been detained over their alleged involvement in facilitating around 29 fake bank accounts and Rs4.14bn money laundering.
Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur, Zain Malik, son-in-law of real estate tycoon Malik Riaz, along with 14 other bankers and businessmen, have also been booked in the case.
The former president, his sister and around 11 other suspects on interim bail appeared before banking court judge Tariq Mehmood Khoso on Monday.
Judge issues notice to Landhi prison chief over absence of undertrial banker from hearing
Prison officials produced detained businessman A.G. Majeed, but informed the court that Mr Lawai was detained in Adiala jail, Rawalpindi, while Mr Raza could not be produced since he recently underwent a surgery of one of his knees.
Defence counsel Shaukat Hayat informed the court that Mr Lawai had been shifted to Adiala jail for interrogation by a joint investigation team on the directives of the Supreme Court. The prison authorities failed to produce him before the trial court, which was a violation of the laws, he said and pleaded for calling an explanation from the Landhi prison’s superintendent regarding his non-production.
The judge issued a notice to the Landhi prison chief to explain why the undertrial banker was not produced. However, the court put off till Jan 2 the hearing on the bail application moved by Taha Raza due to the absence of the Federal Investigation Agency’s (FIA) prosecutor and investigating officer. The court also extended interim bail of Mr Zardari, Ms Talpur and around 11 other suspects till the next hearing.
Initially, the FIA detained Mr Lawai and Taha Raza in July for allegedly facilitating opening of 29 ‘fake’ accounts in three private banks.
A case was later registered against all the suspects under Sections 419 (cheating by impersonation), 420 (cheating and dishonestly inducing delivery of property), 468 (forgery for purpose of cheating), 471 (using as genuine a forged document) and 109 (abetment) of the Pakistan Penal Code, read with Section 5(2) of the Prevention of Corruption Act, 1947 and Sections 3 and 4 of the Anti-Money Laundering Act, 2010.
Published in Dawn, December 11th, 2018