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Zardari files petition against FIA's 'parallel investigation' into fake accounts case

February 15, 2019

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Former president Asif Ali Zardari says FIA's investigation violates apex court's order that had directed NAB to carry out probe. — File photo
Former president Asif Ali Zardari says FIA's investigation violates apex court's order that had directed NAB to carry out probe. — File photo

Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday filed yet another petition pertaining to an ongoing investigation of the fake accounts case, urging the Supreme Court to "restrain the FIA (Federal Investigation Agency)/JIT (Joint Investigation Team)" from probing the alleged scam.

According to the petition, the Supreme Court verdict that was passed last month, had directed an FIA JIT — that was constituted by the top court to probe the case — to assist the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) when required. Even though NAB has launched an investigation of the case, the FIA JIT was still "illegally" carrying out a "parallel inquiry"and was, therefore, violating the Supreme Court order, it said.

The appeal said that the JIT had summoned Abu Bakr Zardari, who is the legal adviser of the Zardari Group, on Feb 12 to question him on the matter. The investigation, the petition claimed, "amounted to parallel exercise of power" and was against Article 13 of the Constitution as well as the top court's verdict.

The petition further said that investigation of the same case by two departments at the same time "was likely to prejudice trial of the accused persons".

Though NAB has initiated an investigation, the FIA has yet to transfer the case officially. Yesterday, the FIA prosecutor had informed a banking court that NAB chairman had signed the request for the case's transfer and record was being transferred to the anti-corruption watchdog. An appeal will be filed in the Supreme Court in this regard by tomorrow, he had said.

The Supreme Court’s order last month asked the anti-corruption watchdog to conclude its investigation within two months. Those found guilty of corruption will have two options: either to face a reference or ask for a plea bargain.

The JIT had accused 172 people of having fake bank accounts and indulging in money laundering in its investigation report that was submitted to the apex court in December last year. They include PPP co-chairman Zardari, Bilawal Bhutto-Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah and Bahria Town owner Malik Riaz.