Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur granted protective bail in fake accounts case

03:10 PM | 19 Mar, 2019
Asif Zardari, Faryal Talpur granted protective bail in fake accounts case
ISLAMABAD - Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur secured a 10-days protective bail from the Sindh High Court (SHC) on Tuesday in the fake bank accounts case.

Both Zardari and his sister have been ordered to submit Rs1 million as surety bonds in the case being probed by the National Accountability Bureau; the court also granted Zardari a 10-day protective bail in the Park Lane Estate Company case.

Earlier today, the high court also heard a petition filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari against the transfer of fake accounts case to Rawalpindi from Karachi.

A two-member bench, comprising Chief Justice Ahmed Ali M. Sheikh and Justice Umar Sial, heard the petition and Zardari's counsel, Farooq H. Naek, appeared before the court.

Naek argued that the transfer of the case was in contradiction with a Supreme Court verdict passed in January this year to which Justice Sheikh asked what he had to say about the Supreme Court's verdict?.

Upon this, the former president's counsel replied that NAB had misinterpreted the decision, adding that in paragraph 300 of its ruling, the apex court had not ordered that the case be transferred to Islamabad.

"Supreme Court had ordered NAB to complete its probe within two months and that time period had already lapsed," Naek contended.

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Tot his, Justice Sheikh asked Naek if he had raised this point in the apex court, to which the lawyer replied that the matter had not come under discussion before the bench.

"The NAB chairman submitted a request [in this regard] in the banking court after the Supreme Court had wrapped up the [fake accounts' case]," Zardari's lawyer told the bench.

Zardari's lawyer argued that the fake accounts case did not fall under NAB's jurisdiction as it was not related to corruption. He also cited that first information report, claiming that it did not say that the case should be investigated by NAB.

The bench, however, maintained that the top court had ordered that the case be transferred to NAB.

"What is left after the Supreme Court's verdict?" asked Justice Sheikh.

Afterwards, the SHC issued notices to the NAB prosecutor and director general of the bureau's Karachi office, ordering them to submit their responses within a week.

The bench also dismissed Naek's request to summon the entire record of the case and turned down Zardari's request to issue a stay order.

The hearing was adjourned until March 26.

The fake bank accounts cum money-laundering probe started last year when then chief justice Saqib Nisar ordered the formation of a Joint Investigation Team for a thorough investigation. The case was brought to light in 2015, however, high-profile arrests were made on the directives of the former top judge.

The National Accountability Court is also investigating the case and recently it arrested former Karachi Port Trust (KPT), Secretary Aftab Memon.

The apex court had formed a JIT in September to probe the money laundering case involving Rs35 billion funneled through fake bank accounts at three local banks; according to Federal Investigation Agency (FIA), the amount exceeds Rs 100 billion.

Sources privy to the developments reveal that the JIT interrogated 97 people, including Asif Ali Zardari, Faryal Talpur, Anwar Majeed, his son and former Summit Bank president, Hussain Lawai.