Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur appeared before an accountability court in Islamabad on Tuesday for a hearing pertaining to the fake accounts case.
In the same hearing, accountability court judge Justice Mohammad Arshad Malik accepted surety bonds of Rs1 million for property tycoon Malik Riaz's son-in-law Zain Malik and Shahzad, another accused in the case.
Zardari and Talpur had also filed an application to submit surety bonds but, as their pre-arrest bail petitions are already pending before the Islamabad High Court (IHC), the court put off further proceedings until the next hearing.
An investigation officer informed the court that he had managed to shift all records — included in a joint investigation team (JIT) report in the fake accounts case and the banking court's previous proceedings in the said case — from Karachi to Islamabad yesterday and therefore he required time to prepare the paper books for the accused.
Traditionally, after the paper books are distributed, a court indicts the accused in the next hearing.
During the hearing today, the head of the National Accountability Bureau's (NAB) prosecution, Sardar Muzaffar Abbasi, informed the court that the applications of two accused who requested to become approvers in the case had been submitted to the bureau's chairman and they were awaiting a decision in this regard.
On April 8, the two — Kiran Aman and Noreen Sultan — had expressed their willingness to become approvers against Zardari and Talpur.
The court today also directed three others to submit an application to the court regarding their surety bonds.
Additionally, the court issued non-bailable arrest warrants for an absconding accused in the case, Adnan Javed, and sought the travel history for two of the accused — Azam Wazir and Nasir Lootha — who have fled abroad.
An investigative officer informed the court that one of the accused, Iqbal Arain, had died. The judge directed him to produce Arain's death certificate.
The next hearing of the case is scheduled for April 29.
Talpur granted pre-arrest interim bail
Separately, a division bench of the Islamabad High Court (IHC) on Tuesday granted Faryal Talpur pre-arrest interim bail until April 29 in an inquiry initiated against her for allegedly receiving kickbacks in a joint venture project between the Zardari Group and Bahria Town.
The IHC division bench, including Justice Aamir Farooq and Justice Mohsin Akhtar Kayani, also asked Talpur to submit a surety bond of Rs1 million.
In the bail petition, Talpur said that the joint venture was signed between the two private parties and had nothing to do with the fake accounts case.
As per the petition, NAB had summoned her on April 17 to record a statement before the JIT probing the fake accounts case in connection to receiving the alleged kickbacks from the joint venture.
Additionally, the court decided to club the case with another petition, pending in the IHC, in which Talpur is seeking bail in the fake accounts case. In the future, both cases will be heard together.