Conflicting reports emerge about alleged arrest of Owais Muzaffar 'Tappi' in Dubai

Published April 2, 2019
Owais Muzaffar 'Tappi'. — Photo courtesy Facebook
Owais Muzaffar 'Tappi'. — Photo courtesy Facebook

Conflicting reports regarding the alleged arrest of Owais Muzaffar alias Tappi, said to be a foster brother of PPP co-chairperson and former president Asif Ali Zardari, in Dubai emerged on Tuesday.

Media reports quoted sources within the International Criminal Police Organisation (Interpol) as saying that Tappi was taken into custody in Dubai on Monday night and was going to be extradited to Pakistan.

No confirmation, however, was made of the arrest by authorities.

Geo News, however, said that the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) has denied the reports of the arrest.

According to ARY News, Tappi refuted reports of his arrest in Dubai.

According to journalist Owais Tohid, a source who spoke to Tappi on phone said that news of the arrest was "unfounded".

Later at a press conference in Larkana, PPP Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, in response to a question, called the reports of Tappi's arrest "fake news".

Tappi is accused of illegal land allotment and money laundering.

An executive board of the National Accountability Bureau in August 2018 had granted approval for the launch of investigations in four different cases against Tappi, who was the Sindh local bodies' minister during PPP's tenure.

Tappi is said to have abused his authority to illegally allot several hundred acres of land by the Malir river, which has reportedly cost the national treasury Rs33 billion.

Others involved in this case include former Sindh chief secretary Raja Muhammad Abbas, and the Sindh Land Utilisation Department's former secretaries Ghulam Mustafa Phul and Ghulam Abbas Soomro.

In December, the then Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar had summoned Tappi, who was accused of illegal occupation of several plots in Shah Latif Town by its residents. The court was told by the Deputy Inspector General (DIG) South Javed Odho that Tappi has been abroad for the last three years.

DIG Odho told the bench that Tappi's mother had been sent a notice in accordance with Supreme Court orders. He added that the a letter had also been sent to the Federal Investigation Agency asking for its help in the matter.

'Involved in all sorts of corruption'

In 2016, the former minister for petroleum Dr Asim Hussain — another close aide of Zardari — in a video statement had hurled startling allegations at Tappi.

Dr Hussain had alleged that the former Sindh minister was the ‘working’ chief minister of Sindh during the second term of the PPP and was involved in doing all sorts of corruption.

“Once a doctor told me that a Rs600 vaccine was bought for Rs1,000 but it was later sold in a market in Multan. When I investigated the case I found the allegations to be true. I complained about this to Zardari and asked him to stop Owais Muzaffar from playing with people’s lives, after which Owais hurled threats at me,” Dr Hussain said in the video statement.

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