Court grants NAB's request to transfer fake bank accounts case to Rawalpindi

Updated March 15, 2019

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PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and several others are fighting a fake bank accounts case that involves alleged money laundering of billions of rupees. — Dawn/File
PPP leader Asif Ali Zardari and several others are fighting a fake bank accounts case that involves alleged money laundering of billions of rupees. — Dawn/File

A banking court in Karachi on Friday granted the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) its request to transfer the fake bank accounts case — against Pakistan Peoples Party co-chairman Asif Ali Zardari, his sister Faryal Talpur and others — to the accountability court of Rawalpindi for trial.

Last month, a NAB prosecutor had filed a statement with the trial court on behalf of NAB chairman retired Justice Javed Iqbal, stating that the investigation of the case had been transferred to the anti-graft watchdog by the apex court. Therefore, he requested the trial court’s judge to transfer the proceedings of trial in the present case to the accountability court in Rawalpindi.

Following the arguments, the court had reserved its verdict earlier this week. The court today announced the verdict, allowing the case to be transferred from Karachi to Rawalpindi.

Subsequently, the banking court cancelled the interim bails granted to Zardari, Talpur and others as the case had been transferred to a different court.

As the verdict was announced, the sons of Anwar Majeed — one of the co-accused — left the court, following which a team of Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) went after them to make arrests.

Zardari appeared before the court after the verdict had been announced. Talpur's counsel, meanwhile, informed the court that his client was sick, and filed an application for the court to grant her permission to skip the hearing.

In the last hearing, Zardari's counsel Farooq H. Naek had argued that the Supreme Court, in its verdict in January this year, had ordered NAB to further the investigation and not to transfer the case. He claimed that NAB was trying to "pressurise the banking court" by filing transfer requests as he urged the court to reject the appeal.

Reading out the first information report filed by the Federal Investigation Agency, Naek had said that the fake bank accounts case did not fall under NAB's jurisdiction as it did not include the charges of corrupt practices and corruption. The charges did not include "deceiving the public" either, he added.

Zardari's counsel had further said that there were "no grounds" for transferring the case to Rawalpindi, and pointed out that the top court had ordered that NAB concludes its investigation within two months, which he said had already lapsed. He further said that it was "important to review" Section 16-A (transfer of cases) of the National Accountability Ordinance, 1999.