Zardari moves SC against FIA's investigation into fake accounts case

Zardari moves SC against FIA's investigation into fake accounts case

Islamabad (Staff Report): Former president Asif Ali Zardari on Friday moved the Supreme Court (SC) against investigation by the Federal Investigation Agency (FIA) into fake accounts case.

Asif Ali Zardari’s counsel Sardar Latif Khosa filed the petition that contends that a previous order by the SC directed the joint investigation team (JIT) to assist the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) in the investigation.

“The court’s orders were being violated as the FIA was still continuing its investigation in the fake accounts case, the petition stated”.

The petition filed by the former president said that the FIA recently summoned his legal adviser, Abu Bakr Zardari, and questioned him about some particular bank accounts.

It stated that the parallel investigations by NAB and FIA’s in fake accounts case were illegal and in violation of the SC’s orders.

Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP) co-chairman in his application requested to the SC to order the JIT and FIA to stop their investigative pursuits and remain limited to their court-mandated role of assisting the NAB investigation.

The former president’s petition was filed a day after a banking court in Karachi extended his pre-arrest bail in the fake accounts case till March 5.

Meanwhile, A three-member special bench headed by Chief Justice of Pakistan (CJP) Asif Saeed Khosa will hear the review petitions on February 18 filed by former president Asif Ali Zardari, PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, Faryal Talpur, and Sindh Chief Minister Murad Ali Shah in the fake accounts case.

On January 28, Former president Asif Ali Zardari and his sister Faryal Talpur had filed a petition in the SC to review top court’s January 7 verdict in the ongoing money laundering case.

The petition filed by the PPP co-chairman and Talpur through their lawyer Latif Khosa states that the FIA failed to submit a final challan in the banking court and the agency was unable to find any evidence against them despite cooperation from all institutions.

The petition said that the apex court decision will affect the “fair trial” and the top court’s January 7 should be reviewed.

The JIT formed by the apex court had submitted a report alleging that a close nexus had been found between a troika of Zardari Group, Bahria Town and Omni Group in the ‘fake accounts' scam.

The report revealed that at least 29 bank accounts had been identified as fake which had been used for money laundering of Rs42 billion.

The top court, in an order passed in the case on Jan 7, had referred the JIT report to the National Accountability Bureau (NAB) to initiate a fresh inquiry into the case.

The apex court ordered NAB to investigate the case in light of JIT report, and to complete its investigation within two months.

"NAB can probe Bilawal and CM Shah independently. If after the investigation a reference can be formed, then it should be filed,” Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar observed.

The bench further asked the accountability bureau to summon whoever it wishes, and instructed the JIT to continue its own probe in the meantime.